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FEMS Yeast Res. 2002 May;2(2):137-49.

The level of MXR1 gene expression in brewing yeast during beer fermentation is a major determinant for the concentration of dimethyl sulfide in beer.

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Carlsberg Research Laboratory, Gamle Carlsberg Vej 10, DK-2500 Copenhagen-Valby, Denmark.


DMS (dimethyl sulfide) is an important beer flavor compound which is derived either from the beer wort production process or via the brewing yeast metabolism. We investigated the contribution of yeast MXR1 gene activity to the final beer DMS content. The MXR1-CA gene from Saccharomyces carlsbergensis (synonym of Saccharomyces pastorianus) lager brewing yeast was isolated and sequenced, and found to be 88% identical with Saccharomyces cerevisiae MXR1. Inactive deletion alleles of both genes were substituted for their functional counterparts in S. carlsbergensis. Such yeasts fermented well and did not form DMS from dimethyl sulfoxide. Overexpression in brewing yeast of MXR1 from non-native promoters with various strengths and transcription profiles resulted in an enhanced and correlated DMS production. The promoters of MXR1 and MXR1-CA contain conserved Met31p/Met32p binding sites, and in accordance with this were found to be co-regulated with the genes of the sulfur assimilation pathway. In addition, conserved YRE-like DNA sequences are present in these promoters, indicating that Yap1p may also take part in the control of these genes.

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