Aneuploidy-the state of having uneven numbers of chromosomes-is a hallmark of cancer and a feature identified in yeast from diverse habitats. Recent studies have shown that aneuploidy is a form of large-effect mutation that is able to confer adaptive phenotypes under diverse stress conditions. Here we investigate whether pleiotropic stress could induce aneuploidy in budding yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisae). We show that whereas diverse stress conditions can induce an increase in chromosome instability, proteotoxic stress, caused by transient Hsp90 (also known as Hsp82 or Hsc82) inhibition or heat shock, markedly increased chromosome instability to produce a cell population with high karyotype diversity. The induced chromosome instability is linked to an evolutionarily conserved role for the Hsp90 chaperone complex in kinetochore assembly. Continued growth in the presence of an Hsp90 inhibitor resulted in the emergence of drug-resistant colonies with chromosome XV gain. This drug-resistance phenotype is a quantitative trait involving copy number increases of at least two genes located on chromosome XV. Short-term exposure to Hsp90 stress potentiated fast adaptation to unrelated cytotoxic compounds by means of different aneuploid chromosome stoichiometries. These findings demonstrate that aneuploidy is a form of stress-inducible mutation in eukaryotes, capable of fuelling rapid phenotypic evolution and drug resistance, and reveal a new role for Hsp90 in regulating the emergence of adaptive traits under stress.
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