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Changes in intracellular metabolism underlying the adaptation of Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains to ethanol stress

Tian, Juan, Zhang, Shuxian, Li, Hao
Annals of microbiology 2017 v.67 no.2 pp. 195-202
Saccharomyces cerevisiae, bioethanol, cell membranes, energy, ethanol, fermentation, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, glycolysis, membrane fluidity, metabolites, metabolomics, oleic acid, phenotype
Saccharomyces cerevisiae is often stressed by the ethanol which accumulates during the production of bioethanol by the fermentation process. The study of ethanol-adapted S. cerevisiae strains provide an opportunity to clarify the molecular mechanism underlying the adaptation or tolerance of S. cerevisiae to ethanol stress. The aim of this study was to clarify this molecular mechanism by investigating the ethanol adaptation-associated intracellular metabolic changes in S. cerevisiae using a gas chromatography–mass spectrometry-based metabolomics strategy. A partial least-squares-discriminant analysis between the parental strain and ethanol-adapted strains identified 12 differential metabolites of variable importance with a projection value of >1. The ethanol-adapted strains had a more activated glycolysis pathway and higher energy production than the parental strain, suggesting the possibility that an increased energy production and energy requirement might be partly responsible for an increased ethanol tolerance. An increased glycine content also partly contributed to the higher ethanol tolerance of the ethanol-adapted strains. The decreased oleic acid content may be a self-protection mechanism of ethanol-adapted strains to maintain membrane integrity through decreasing membrane fluidity. We suggest that while being exposed to ethanol stress, ethanol-adapted S. cerevisiae cells may remodel their metabolic phenotype and the composition of their cell membrane to adapt to ethanol stress and acquire higher ethanol tolerance.