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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2000 Oct;66(10):4456-61.

Internal trehalose protects endocytosis from inhibition by ethanol in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas Alberto Sols, CSIC, 28029-Madrid, Spain.


Endocytosis in Saccharomyces cerevisiae is inhibited by concentrations of ethanol of 2 to 6% (vol/vol), which are lower than concentrations commonly present in its natural habitats. In spite of this inhibition, endocytosis takes place under enological conditions when high concentrations of ethanol are present. Therefore, it seems that yeast has developed some means to circumvent the inhibition. In this work we have investigated this possibility. We identified two stress conditions under which endocytosis was resistant to inhibition by ethanol: fermentation during nitrogen starvation and growth on nonfermentable substrates. Under these conditions, yeast accumulates stress protectors, primarily trehalose and Hsp104, a protein required for yeast to survive ethanol stress. We found the following. (i) The appearance of ethanol resistance was accompanied by trehalose accumulation. (ii) Mutant cells unable to synthesize trehalose also were unable to develop resistance. (iii) Mutant cells that accumulated trehalose during growth on sugars were resistant to ethanol even under this nonstressing condition. (iv) Mutant cells unable to synthesize Hsp104 were able to develop resistance. We conclude that trehalose is the major factor in the protection of endocytosis from ethanol. Our results suggest another important physiological role for trehalose in yeast.

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