December 14, 2021
About this newsletter:
This is the Fall 2021 issue of the SGD newsletter. The goal of this newsletter is to inform our users about new features in SGD and to foster communication within the yeast community. You can view this newsletter as well as previous newsletters on our Community Wiki.
SGD has made recent updates to our protein complex pages to improve clarity and ease of use. The new pages for each complex will have the same format as gene pages, with tabs across the top for each category of information, including a Summary page, a Gene Ontology page, and a Literature page. Just as we do for all of your favorite genes, Gene Ontology and Literature curation for complexes will be ongoing.
If you have any questions or feedback about the updates to our complex pages, please do not hesitate to contact us at any time.
SGD has long been the keeper of the official Saccharomyces cerevisiae gene nomenclature. Robert Mortimer handed over this responsibility to SGD in 1993 after maintaining the yeast genetic map and gene nomenclature for 30 years.
The accepted format for gene names in S. cerevisiae comprises three uppercase letters followed by a number. The letters typically signify a phrase (referred to as the “Name Description” in SGD) that provides information about a function, mutant phenotype, or process related to that gene, for example “ADE” for “ADEnine biosynthesis” or “CDC” for “Cell Division Cycle”. Gene names for many types of chromosomal features follow this basic format regardless of the type of feature named, whether an ORF, a tRNA, another type of non-coding RNA, an ARS, or a genetic locus. Some S. cerevisiae gene names that pre-date the current nomenclature standards do not conform to this format, such as MRLP38, RPL1A, and OM45.
A few historical gene names predate both the nomenclature standards and the database, and were less computer-friendly than more recent gene names, due to the presence of punctuation. SGD recently updated these gene names to be consistent with current standards and to be more software-friendly by removing punctuation. The old names for these four genes have been retained as aliases.
|ORF||Old gene name||New gene name|
For many years, a widely adopted systematic nomenclature has existed for yeast protein-coding genes, or ORFs, as many yeast researchers call them. Readers of the last SGD newsletter will recall that, earlier this year, SGD adopted a new systematic nomenclature for the entire annotated complement of ncRNAs.
We have just put into place a new systematic nomenclature for S. cerevisiae genes that are not found in the reference genome of strain S288C (“non-reference” genes). This new systematic nomenclature is similar to, but distinct from, that used for ORFs and that used for ncRNAs. Non-reference genes are designated by a symbol consisting of three uppercase letters and a four-digit number, as follows: Y for “Yeast”, SC for “Saccharomyces cerevisiae”, and a four-digit number corresponding to the sequential order in which the gene was added to SGD. We currently have 55 of these genes in SGD, some of which are old favorites like MAL21/YSC0004 and MATA/YSC0046, while others are more recent additions like XDH1/YSC0051. Going forward, as evidence is published pointing to other S. cerevisiae genes not present in the S288C reference genome, they will be added to the annotation using the next sequential number available. We already have 15 more of these YSC0000 names reserved by researchers and awaiting publication.
If you have some non-reference genes for which these names would be appropriate, please let us know!
Would you like to see the shape of your protein?
We recently replaced HomoloGene, Ensembl, TreeFam and PANTHER homology datasets in YeastMine with homology data from DIOPT (DRSC integrative ortholog prediction tool). DIOPT integrates orthology predictions from multiple sources, including HomoloGene, Ensembl, TreeFam, and PANTHER. Using the Gene->Non-fungal and S. cerevisiae Homologs pre-generated query, you can look for DIOPT homologs for a single or multiple yeast genes. The results table provides identifiers and standard names for the yeast and homologous genes, as well as organism and predictive score information. As with other YeastMine templates, results can be saved as lists and analyzed further.
Pre-generated queries for human homolog(s) of your favorite yeast gene and their corresponding disease associations remain largely unchanged. You can begin with your favorite human gene or disease keyword and retrieve the yeast counterparts of the relevant gene(s). As an example, you can search for the S. cerevisiae homologs of all human genes associated with disorders that contain the keyword “diabetes” (view search). The results table provides identifiers and standard names for the yeast and human genes, OMIM gene and disease identifiers and name, as well as predictive algorithm sources and scores.
From October 12-14, SGD biocurators attended the Gene Ontology Consortium’s Fall Meeting with participants from around the world. The goal of these meetings is to bring together data scientists with diverse backgrounds (curators, programmers, etc.) for lively discussions regarding how to better capture, curate, analyze, and serve data to researchers, educators, students, and other life science professionals. Our goal in participating in these meetings each year is to find ways to make SGD even better for you!
Discussion topics included, but were not limited to:
We know that 2021 has been another challenging year for everyone. Our thoughts go out to all those who have been impacted by recent events. We wish you and your family, friends, and lab mates the best during the upcoming holidays.
Stanford University will be closed for two weeks starting December 20, and will reopen on January 3rd, 2022. Although SGD staff members will be taking time off, the website will be up and running throughout the winter break, and we will resume responding to user requests and questions in the new year.