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J Biosci Bioeng. 2009 Sep;108(3):199-204. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiosc.2009.03.019.

Ethanol-tolerant Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains isolated under selective conditions by over-expression of a proofreading-deficient DNA polymerase delta.

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  • 1Health Technology Research Center, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), 2217-14, Hayashi, Takamatsu, Kagawa 761-0395, Japan.


Ethanol damages the cell membrane and functional proteins, gradually reducing cell viability, and leading to cell death during fermentation which impairs effective bioethanol production by budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. To obtain more suitable strains for bioethanol production and to gain a better understanding of ethanol tolerance, ethanol-tolerant mutants were isolated using the novel mutagenesis technique based on the disparity theory of evolution. According to this theory evolution can be accelerated by affecting the lagging-strand synthesis in which DNA polymerase delta is involved. Expression of the pol3-01 gene, a proofreading-deficient of DNA polymerase delta, in S. cerevisiae W303-1A grown under conditions of increasing ethanol concentration resulted in three ethanol-tolerant mutants (YFY1, YFY2 and YFY3), which could grow in medium containing 13% ethanol. Ethanol productivity also increased in YFY strains compared to the wild-type strain in medium containing 25% glucose. Cell morphology of YFY strain cells was normal even in the presence of 8% ethanol, whereas W303-1A cells were expanded by a big vacuole. Furthermore, two of these mutants were also resistant to high-temperature, Calcofluor white and NaCl. Expression levels of TPS1 and TSL1, which are responsible for trehalose biosynthesis, were higher in YFY strains relative to W303-1A, resulting in high levels of intracellular trehalose in YFY strains. This contributed to the multiple-stress tolerance that makes YFY strains suitable for the production of bioethanol.

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