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Charting Shifts in Saccharomyces cerevisiae Gene Expression across Asynchronous Time Trajectories with Diffusion Maps


During fermentation, Saccharomyces cerevisiae metabolizes sugars and other nutrients to obtain energy for growth and survival, while also modulating these activities in response to cell-environment interactions. Here, differences in S. cerevisiae gene expression were explored over a time course of fermentation and used to differentiate fermentations, using Pinot noir grapes from 15 unique sites. Data analysis was complicated by the fact that the fermentations proceeded at different rates, making a direct comparison of time series gene expression data difficult with conventional differential expression tools. This led to the development of a novel approach combining diffusion mapping with continuous differential expression analysis (termed DMap-DE). Using this method, site-specific deviations in gene expression were identified, including changes in gene expression correlated with the non-Saccharomyces yeast Hanseniaspora uvarum, as well as initial nitrogen concentrations in grape musts. These results highlight novel relationships between site-specific variables and Saccharomyces cerevisiae gene expression that are linked to repeated fermentation outcomes. It was also demonstrated that DMap-DE can extract biologically relevant gene expression patterns from other contexts (e.g., hypoxic response of Saccharomyces cerevisiae) and offers advantages over other data dimensionality reduction approaches, indicating that DMap-DE offers a robust method for investigating asynchronous time series gene expression data. IMPORTANCE In this work, Saccharomyces cerevisiae gene expression was used as a biosensor to capture differences across and between fermentations of Pinot noir grapes from 15 unique sites representing eight American Viticultural Areas. This required development of a novel analysis method, DMap-DE, for investigation of asynchronous gene expression data. It was demonstrated that DMap-DE reveals biologically relevant shifts in gene expression related to cell-environment interactions in the context of hypoxia and fermentation. Using these data, it was discovered that gene expression by non-Saccharomyces yeasts and initial nitrogen content in grape musts are correlated with differences in gene expression among fermentations. These findings highlight important relationships between site-specific variables and gene expression that may be used to understand why foods and beverages, including wine, possess sensory characteristics associated with or derived from their place of origin.

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