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Noise and Epigenetic Inheritance of Single-Cell Division Times Influence Population Fitness

  • Cerulus, Bram; 73515;
  • New, Aaron; 61854;
  • Pougach, Ksenia;
  • Verstrepen, Kevin; 31931;
Publication Date
Apr 07, 2016
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The fitness effect of biological noise remains unclear. For example, even within clonal microbial populations, individual cells grow at different speeds. Although it is known that the individuals’ mean growth speed can affect population-level fitness, it is unclear how or whether growth speed heterogeneity itself is subject to natural selection. Here, we show that noisy single-cell division times can significantly affect population-level growth rate. Using time-lapse microscopy to measure the division times of thousands of individual S. cerevisiae cells across different genetic and environmental backgrounds, we find that the length of individual cells’ division times can vary substantially between clonal individuals and that sublineages often show epigenetic inheritance of division times. By combining these experimental measurements with mathematical modeling, we find that, for a given mean division time, increasing heterogeneity and epigenetic inheritance of division times increases the population growth rate. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the heterogeneity and epigenetic inheritance of single-cell division times can be linked with variation in the expression of catabolic genes. Taken together, our results reveal how a change in noisy single-cell behaviors can directly influence fitness through dynamics that operate independently of effects caused by changes to the mean. These results not only allow a better understanding of microbial fitness but also help to more accurately predict fitness in other clonal populations, such as tumors. / publisher: Elsevier articletitle: Noise and Epigenetic Inheritance of Single-Cell Division Times Influence Population Fitness journaltitle: Current Biology articlelink: content_type: article copyright: © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. / status: published

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