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Redox Rep. 2011;16(1):15-23. doi: 10.1179/174329211X12968219310954.

Acetate but not propionate induces oxidative stress in bakers' yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Vassyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University, Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine.


The influence of acetic and propionic acids on baker's yeast was investigated in order to expand our understanding of the effect of weak organic acid food preservatives on eukaryotic cells. Both acids decreased yeast survival in a concentration-dependent manner, but with different efficiencies. The acids inhibited the fluorescein efflux from yeast cells. The inhibition constant of fluorescein extrusion from cells treated with acetate was significantly lower in parental strain than in either PDR12 (ABC-transporter Pdr12p) or WAR1 (transcriptional factor of Pdr12p) defective mutants. The constants of inhibition by propionate were virtually the same in all strains used. Yeast exposure to acetate increased the level of oxidized proteins and the activity of antioxidant enzymes, while propionate did not change these parameters. This suggests that various mechanisms underlie the yeast toxicity by acetic and propionic acids. Our studies with mutant cells clearly indicated the involvement of Yap1p transcriptional regulator and de novo protein synthesis in superoxide dismutase up-regulation by acetate. The up-regulation of catalase was Yap1p independent. Yeast pre-incubation with low concentrations of H₂O₂ caused cellular cross-protection against high concentrations of acetate. The results are discussed from the point of view that acetate induces a prooxidant effect in vivo, whereas propionate does not.

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