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Yeast 15, 81 (1999)
Book Review
Operating Instructions for the Yeast Machine
HOWARD BUSSEY Department of Biology, McGill
University, 1205 Dr Penfield Ave., Montreal, PQ H3A
1B1, Canada
A review of Yeast Gene Analysis (Methods in Microbiology, Vol. 26, edited by Alistair J. P. Brown and Mick F.
Tuite. Published by Academic Press, P.B. $59.95; H.C.
This volume of Methods in Microbiology aims to be a
primer to guide analysis of yeast into the postgenomic
era. The origins of the book are firmly centred in the
European Commission-supported yeast functional
analysis network, EUROFAN. The editors, Al Brown
and Mick Tuite, are both members of this consortium as
are the authors of most of the 24 chapters. The book
seeks to extend, but not repeat, basic core information
available in earlier ‘Methods’ volumes, such as the
Guthrie and Fink ‘bible’, Methods in Enzymology (1991)
and subsequent works, such as the Johnny Johnston
book, Molecular Genetics of Yeast—A Practical
Approach (1994), or the most recent Cold Spring Harbor
Yeast Course Manual. Designed as it is to help yeast and
non-yeast researchers navigate the fast-moving experimental waters of yeast biology, the coverage is broad;
spanning the many applications of genomics, genetics,
molecular biology, biochemistry and cell biology
and their attendant technologies to Saccharomyces
The chapters have a straightforward and usable layout, enhanced by a page-flicker bookmark feature. Each
begins with a contents outline, and relevant abbreviations follow in bold. The text headings for the written
sections are large and easy to find, and specific protocols
are inserted into the text as boxed elements containing
clear sets of instructions in a numbered point format.
The book is informatively illustrated with a wealth of
helpful diagrams, photographs and tables, the chapters
are cross-referenced and well referenced, and there is a
global, terminal index to text, illustrations and tables.
The book is far more than a cookbook; it seeks to place
techniques and experimental strategies in some critical
perspective, and expert investigators provide an
overview of the state of the art in many areas.
As to contents, it begins with chapters on functional
genomics (S. Oliver) and bioinformatics (W. Mewes
Copyright 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
et al.), and chromosomal manipulations (E. Louis),
moves to transformation methodology (R. Gietz et al.)
and PCR-based gene disruption (A. Wach et al.), to a
fine contribution on use of conditional alleles for working with essential genes (M. Stark). Chapters on transcriptional analysis (A. Brown et al.) and reporter genes
(J. McCarthy group) follow and issues of transposon
mutagenesis and tagging occupy a further three chapters
(D. Garfinkel et al., P. Ross-Macdonald et al., M.
Bolotin-Fukuhara). Switching to protein studies, there
are chapters on protein localization (I. Hagan and C.
Stirling), post-translational modification of both secretory and intracellular proteins (F. Klis et al., M. Stark,
respectively) and on two-hybrid analysis (J. Rosamond).
An insightful essay on genetic screens (P. Linder group)
leads to some more specialized chapters on metabolic
control analysis (B. Teusink et al.), stress and MAPkinase related signal transduction (W. Mager et al. and
the Nombela group, respectively) and protein synthesis
(M. Tuite et al.). Some important applications of yeast
studies are also succinctly covered, namely the discovery
of human gene function (P. Moore), and an authoritative article on genomic studies on the pathogenic yeast,
Candida albicans (P. Magee). A yeast mutant collections
section (K. Entian and P. Kotter) and a discussion on
future prospects for yeast gene analysis (A. Brown and
M. Tuite) round out the volume. There are also helpful
appendices dealing with gene and protein nomenclature,
yeast growth and storage, a list of web sites and a
ribosome inventory.
Does it work? Given that probably only a reviewer
will attempt to read all of a reference work, I put the
book in my laboratory for a couple of weeks where it
was well received by graduate and postdoctoral students
after much critical thumbing and detailed checking. The
consensus was that the material was up-to-date (finished
in August 1997) and informative, and that the protocols
were detailed and useful. Thus, we think the volume will
be a valuable addition to our laboratory bookshelf, both
as a reference work and as a starting point for new
analysis. Certainly, it is a compendium packed with
information, insights and discussions of potential pitfalls
and limitations, all provided by experienced practitioners. The book successfully brings together a diffuse
literature on sets of tools, technologies and know-how in
an accessible format, and represents a sound investment
for anyone interested in gene analysis.
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