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Concept: Saccharomycetaceae


There has been increasing interest in the use of selected non-Saccharomyces yeasts in co-culture with Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The main reason is that the multistarter fermentation process is thought to simulate indigenous fermentation, thus increasing wine aroma complexity while avoiding the risks linked to natural fermentation. However, multistarter fermentation is characterised by complex and largely unknown interactions between yeasts. Consequently the resulting wine quality is rather unpredictable. In order to better understand the interactions that take place between non-Saccharomyces and Saccharomyces yeasts during alcoholic fermentation, we analysed the volatile profiles of several mono-culture and co-cultures. Candida zemplinina, Torulaspora delbrueckii and Metschnikowia pulcherrima were used to conduct fermentations either in mono-culture or in co-culture with S. cerevisiae. Up to 48 volatile compounds belonging to different chemical families were quantified. For the first time, we show that C. zemplinina is a strong producer of terpenes and lactones. We demonstrate by means of multivariate analysis that different interactions exist between the co-cultures studied. We observed a synergistic effect on aromatic compound production when M. pulcherrima was in co-culture with S. cerevisiae. However a negative interaction was observed between C. zemplinina and S. cerevisiae, which resulted in a decrease in terpene and lactone content. These interactions are independent of biomass production. The aromatic profiles of T. delbrueckii and S. cerevisiae in mono-culture and in co-culture are very close, and are biomass-dependent, reflecting a neutral interaction. This study reveals that a whole family of compounds could be altered by such interactions. These results suggest that the entire metabolic pathway is affected by these interactions.

Concepts: Saccharomyces pastorianus, Saccharomycetaceae, Saccharomycetes, Yeasts, Sauvignon blanc, Brewing, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Yeast


In order to better understand the differences in xylose metabolism between natural xylose-utilizing Pichia stipitis and metabolically engineered Saccharomyces cerevisiae, we constructed a series of recombinant S. cerevisiae strains with different xylose reductase/xylitol dehydrogenase/xylulokinase activity ratios by integrating xylitol dehydrogenase gene (XYL2) into the chromosome with variable copies and heterogeneously expressing xylose reductase gene (XYL1) and endogenous xylulokinase gene (XKS1). The strain with the highest specific xylose uptake rate and ethanol productivity on pure xylose fermentation was selected to compare to P. stipitis under oxygen-limited condition. Physiological and enzymatic comparison showed that they have different patterns of xylose metabolism and NADPH generation.

Concepts: Yeasts, Beer, Saccharomycetaceae, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Fungus, Saccharomycetes, Brewing, Yeast


Atg17, in complex with Atg29 and Atg31, constitutes a key module of the Atg1 kinase signaling complex and functions as an important organizer of the phagophore assembly site in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We have determined the three-dimensional reconstruction of the full S. cerevisiae Atg17-Atg31-Atg29 complex by single-particle electron microscopy. Our structure shows that Atg17-Atg31-Atg29 is dimeric and adopts a relatively rigid and extended “S-shape” architecture with an end-to-end distance of approximately 345 Å. Subunit mapping analysis indicated that Atg17 mediates dimerization and generates a central rod-like scaffold, while Atg31 and Atg29 form two globular domains that are tethered to the concave sides of the scaffold at the terminal regions. Finally, our observation that Atg17 adopts multiple conformations in the absence of Atg31 and Atg29 suggests that the two smaller components play key roles in defining and maintaining the distinct curvature of the ternary complex.

Concepts: Saccharomycetes, Saccharomycetaceae, Saccharomyces, Yeast, Brewing, Saccharomyces pastorianus, Fungus, Saccharomyces cerevisiae


Pyruvate decarboxylases (PDCs) are a class of enzymes which carry out the non-oxidative decarboxylation of pyruvate to acetaldehyde. These enzymes are also capable of carboligation reactions and can generate chiral intermediates of substantial pharmaceutical interest. Typically, the decarboxylation and carboligation processes are carried out using whole cell systems. However, fermentative organisms such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae are known to contain several PDC isozymes; the precise suitability and role of each of these isozymes in these processes is not well understood. S. cerevisiae has three catalytic isozymes of pyruvate decarboxylase (ScPDCs). Of these, ScPDC1 has been investigated in detail by various groups with the other two catalytic isozymes, ScPDC5 and ScPDC6 being less well characterized. Pyruvate decarboxylase activity can also be detected in the cell lysates of Komagataella pastoris, a Crabtree-negative yeast, and consequently it is of interest to investigate whether this enzyme has different kinetic properties. This is also the first report of the expression and functional characterization of pyruvate decarboxylase from K. pastoris (PpPDC). This investigation helps in understanding the roles of the three isozymes at different phases of S. cerevisiae fermentation as well as their relevance for ethanol and carboligation reactions. The kinetic and physical properties of the four isozymes were determined using similar conditions of expression and characterization. ScPDC5 has comparable decarboxylation efficiency to that of ScPDC1; however, the former has the highest rate of reaction, and thus can be used for industrial production of ethanol. ScPDC6 has the least decarboxylation efficiency of all three isozymes of S. cerevisiae. PpPDC in comparison to all isozymes of S. cerevisiae is less efficient at decarboxylation. All the enzymes exhibit allostery, indicating that they are substrate activated.

Concepts: Saccharomycetaceae, Beer, Saccharomycetes, Enzyme, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Fungus, Brewing, Yeast


The newly isolated extreme thermophile Thermoanaerobacter pentosaceus was used for ethanol production from alkaline-peroxide pretreated rapeseed straw (PRS). Both the liquid and solid fractions of PRS were used. T. pentosaceus was able to metabolize the typical process inhibitors present in lignocellulosic hydrolysate, namely 5-hydroxymethyl furfural (HMF) and furfural, up to concentrations of 1 and 0.5 g l(-1) , respectively. Above these levels, xylose consumption was inhibited up to 70%(at 3.4 g-furfural l(-1) ) and 75% (at 3.4 g-HMF l(-1) ). T. pentosaceus was able to grow and produce ethanol directly from the liquid fraction of pretreated rapeseed straw, without any dilution or need for additives. However, when the hydrolysate was used undiluted the ethanol yield was only 37% compared to yield of the control, in which pure sugars in synthetic medium were used. The decrease of ethanol yield was attributed to the high amounts of salts resulting from the alkaline-peroxide pretreatment. Finally, a two-stage ethanol production process from PRS using Saccharomyces cerevisiae (utilization of hexoses in the first step) and T. pentosaceus (utilization of pentoses in the second step) was developed. Results showed that the two strains together could achieve up to 85% of the theoretical ethanol yield based on the sugar composition of the rapeseed straw, which was 14% and 50% higher compared to the yield with the yeast or the bacteria alone, respectively. Biotechnol. Bioeng. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Concepts: Water, Saccharomycetaceae, Saccharomyces, Brewing, Saccharomyces pastorianus, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Fungus, Yeast


Due to increased occurrence of infections and food spoilage caused by yeast, there is an unmet need for new antifungal agents. The arginine-β-(2,5,7-tri-tert-butylindol-3-yl)alanine-arginine (R-Tbt-R) motif was previously proved useful in the design of an antifungal tripeptide. Here, an array of peptidomimetics based on this motif was investigated for antifungal and hemolytic activity. The five most promising modified tetrapeptide analogues ( 6: and 9-12: contain an additional C-terminal hydrophobic residue, and these were found to exhibit antifungal activity against Saccharomyces cerevisiae (MIC 6 and 12 μg mL(-1)) and Zygosaccharomyces bailii (MIC 6-25 μg mL(-1)). Four compounds ( 6: and 9-11: , had limited hemolytic activity (<10% hemolysis at 8 × MIC). Determination of their killing kinetics revealed that compound 9: displayed fungicidal effect. Testing against cells from an S. cerevisiae deletion mutant library indicated that interaction with yeast-specific fungal sphingolipids, most likely constitutes a crucial step in the mode of action of these. Interestingly, a lack of activity of peptidomimetics 6: and 9-11: towards Candida spp. was shown to be due to degradation or sequestering by the yeast. Due to their ultrashort nature, antifungal activity and low toxicity the four compounds may have potential as leads for novel preservatives.

Concepts: Brewing, Saccharomyces pastorianus, Saccharomycetaceae, Yeasts, Saccharomycetes, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Fungus, Yeast


Microbial starter cultures have been extensively used to enhance the consistency and efficiency of industrial fermentations. Despite the advantages of such controlled fermentations, the fermentation involved in the production of chocolate still is a spontaneous process that relies on the natural microbiota at the cocoa farms. However, recent studies indicate that certain thermotolerant Saccharomyces cerevisiae cultures can be used as starter cultures for cocoa pulp fermentation. In this study, we investigate the potential of specifically developed starter cultures to modulate the chocolate aroma. Specifically, we developed several new S. cerevisiae hybrids that combine thermotolerance and efficient cocoa pulp fermentation with a high production of volatile flavor-active esters. In addition, we also investigated the potential of two species (Pichia kluyveri and Cyberlindnera fabianii) that produce very large amounts of fruity esters. GC-MS analysis of the cocoa liquor revealed an increased concentration of various flavor-active esters and a decrease in spoilage-related off-flavors in batches inoculated with S. cerevisiae starter cultures, and, to a lesser extent, in batches inoculated with P. kluyveri and C. fabianii. Additionally, GC-MS analysis of chocolate samples revealed that whilst most short-chain esters evaporated during conching, longer, more fat-soluble ethyl and acetate esters such as ethyl octanoate, phenylethyl acetate, ethyl phenylacetate, ethyl decanoate and ethyl dodecanoate remained almost unaffected. Sensory analysis by an expert panel confirmed significant differences in the aroma of chocolates produced with different starter cultures. Together, these results show that selection of different yeast cultures opens novel avenues to modulate chocolate flavor.

Concepts: Fungus, Baker's yeast, Saccharomyces pastorianus, Saccharomycetaceae, Brewing, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Yeast, Chocolate


The CMG helicase is composed of Cdc45, Mcm2-7 and GINS. Here we report the structure of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae CMG, determined by cryo-EM at a resolution of 3.7-4.8 Å. The structure reveals that GINS and Cdc45 scaffold the N tier of the helicase while enabling motion of the AAA+ C tier. CMG exists in two alternating conformations, compact and extended, thus suggesting that the helicase moves like an inchworm. The N-terminal regions of Mcm2-7, braced by Cdc45-GINS, form a rigid platform upon which the AAA+ C domains make longitudinal motions, nodding up and down like an oil-rig pumpjack attached to a stable platform. The Mcm ring is remodeled in CMG relative to the inactive Mcm2-7 double hexamer. The Mcm5 winged-helix domain is inserted into the central channel, thus blocking entry of double-stranded DNA and supporting a steric-exclusion DNA-unwinding model.

Concepts: Saccharomycetaceae, Saccharomyces pastorianus, Saccharomyces, Model organism, Genome, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Fungus, DNA


G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) must discriminate between hundreds of related signal molecules. In order to better understand how GPCR specificity can arise from a common promiscuous ancestor, we used laboratory evolution to invert the specificity of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae mating receptor Ste2. This GPCR normally responds weakly to the pheromone of the related species Kluyveromyces lactis, though we previously showed that mutation N216S is sufficient to make this receptor promiscuous. Here, we found that three additional substitutions, A265T, Y266F and P290Q, can act together to confer a novel specificity for K. lactis pheromone. Unlike wild-type Ste2, this new variant does not rely on differences in binding affinity to discriminate against its non-preferred ligand. Instead, the mutation P290Q is critical for suppressing the efficacy of the native pheromone. These two alternative methods of ligand discrimination were mapped to specific amino acid positions on the peptide pheromones. Our work demonstrates that changes in ligand efficacy can drive changes in GPCR specificity, thus obviating the need for extensive binding pocket re-modeling.

Concepts: Amine, Saccharomycetaceae, Saccharomycetes, Protein, Fungus, G protein-coupled receptor, Metabotropic glutamate receptor, Signal transduction


Glutathionyl-hydroquinone reductases (GHRs) belong to the recently characterized Xi-class of glutathione transferases (GSTXs) according to unique structural properties and are present in all but animal kingdoms. The GHR ScECM4 from the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has been studied since 1997 when it was found to be potentially involved in cell-wall biosynthesis. Up to now and in spite of biological studies made on this enzyme, its physiological role remains challenging. The work here reports its crystallographic study. In addition to exhibiting the general GSTX structural features, ScECM4 shows extensions including a huge loop which contributes to the quaternary assembly. These structural extensions are probably specific to Saccharomycetaceae. Soaking of ScECM4 crystals with GS-menadione results in a structure where glutathione forms a mixed disulfide bond with the cysteine 46. Solution studies confirm that ScECM4 has reductase activity for GS-menadione in presence of glutathione. Moreover, the high resolution structures allowed us to propose new roles of conserved residues of the active site to assist the cysteine 46 during the catalytic act.

Concepts: Brewing, Saccharomycetaceae, Disulfide bond, Crystal, Glutathione, Enzyme, Fungus, Saccharomyces cerevisiae