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Ultrastructural changes of Saccharomyces cerevisiae in response to ethanol stress

Ma, Manli, Han, Pei, Zhang, Ruimin, Li, Hao
Canadian journal of microbiology 2013 v.59 no.9 pp. 589-597
Saccharomyces cerevisiae, bioethanol, cell membranes, cultured cells, ethanol, glucose, mitochondria, peptones, physiology, reactive oxygen species, transmission electron microscopy, vacuoles, yeast extract
In the fermentative process using Saccharomyces cerevisiae to produce bioethanol, the performance of cells is often compromised by the accumulation of ethanol. However, the mechanism of how S.cerevisiae responds against ethanol stress remains elusive. In the current study, S.cerevisiae cells were cultured in YPD (yeast extract – peptone – dextrose) medium containing various concentrations of ethanol (0%, 2.5%, 5%, 7.5%, 10%, and 15% (v/v)). Compared with the control group without ethanol, the mean cell volume of S.cerevisiae decreased significantly in the presence of 7.5% and 10% ethanol after incubation for 16 h (P < 0.05), and in the presence of 15% ethanol at all 3 sampling time points (1, 8, and 16 h) (P < 0.05). The exposure of S.cerevisiae cells to ethanol also led to an increase in malonyldialdehyde content (P < 0.05) and a decrease in sulfhydryl group content (P < 0.05). Moreover, the observations through transmission electron microscopy enabled us to relate ultrastructural changes elicited by ethanol with the cellular stress physiology. Under ethanol stress, the integrity of the cell membrane was compromised. The swelling or distortion of mitochondria together with the occurrence of a single and large vacuole was correlated with the addition of ethanol. These results suggested that the cell membrane is one of the targets of ethanol, and the degeneration of mitochondria promoted the accumulation of intracellular reactive oxygen species.