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Lett Appl Microbiol. 2003;37(3):268-74.

A study of the yeast cell wall composition and structure in response to growth conditions and mode of cultivation.

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Centre de Bioingenierie Gilbert Durand, UMR-CNRS 5504, UMR-INRA 792, Toulouse Cedex, France.



The polysaccharide composition of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae cell wall was measured under various growth conditions and was compared with the cell wall structure.


Chemical and enzymatic methods were used to determine levels of beta-1,3-glucan and 1,6-glucan, mannan and chitin of the yeast cell wall, whereas the structure/resistance of the wall was qualitatively assessed by the sensibility to the lytic action by zymolyase. It was found that the dry mass and polysaccharides content of the cell wall could vary by more than 50% with the nature of the carbon source, nitrogen limitation, pH, temperature and aeration, and with the mode of cell cultivation (shake flasks vs controlled fermentors). While no obvious correlation could be found between beta-glucan or mannan levels and the susceptibility of whole yeast cells to zymolyase, increase of beta-1,6-glucan levels, albeit modest with respect to the growth conditions investigated, and to a lesser extent that of chitin, was associated with decreased sensitivity of yeast cells to the lytic action by zymolyase.


Our results indicate that the cell wall structure is merely determined by cross-linking between cell wall polymers, pointed out the role of beta-1,6-glucan in this process. Hence, this study reinforces the idea that enzymes involved in these cross-linking reactions are potential targets for antifungal drugs.

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