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Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2006 Mar;70(2):237-46. Epub 2005 Jul 23.

Rapid identification of target genes for 3-methyl-1-butanol production in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Cell Biology, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.


Extracellular conditions determine the taste of fermented foods by affecting metabolite formation by the micro-organisms involved. To identify targets for improvement of metabolite formation in food fermentation processes, automated high-throughput screening and cDNA microarray approaches were applied. Saccharomyces cerevisiae was cultivated in 96-well microtiter plates, and the effects of salt concentration and pH on the growth and synthesis of the fusel alcohol-flavoured substance, 3-methyl-1-butanol, was evaluated. Optimal fermentation conditions for 3-methyl-1-butanol concentration were found at pH 3.0 and 0% NaCl. To identify genes encoding enzymes with major influence on product formation, a genome-wide gene expression analysis was carried out with S. cerevisiae cells grown at pH 3.0 (optimal for 3-methyl-1-butanol formation) and pH 5.0 (yeast cultivated under standard conditions). A subset of 747 genes was significantly induced or repressed when the pH was changed from pH 5.0 to 3.0. Expression of seven genes related to the 3-methyl-1-butanol pathway, i.e. LAT1, PDX1, THI3, ALD4, ILV3, ILV5 and LEU4, strongly changed in response to this switch in pH of the growth medium. In addition, genes involved in NAD metabolism, i.e. BNA2, BNA3, BNA4 and BNA6, or those involved in the TCA cycle and glutamate metabolism, i.e. MEU1, CIT1, CIT2, KDG1 and KDG2, displayed significant changes in expression. The results indicate that this is a rapid and valuable approach for identification of interesting target genes for improvement of yeast strains used in industrial processes.

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