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Yeast. 2011 Aug;28(8):579-94. doi: 10.1002/yea.1888. Epub 2011 Jul 13.

Identification of regulatory elements in the AGT1 promoter of ale and lager strains of brewer's yeast.

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  • 1VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, PO Box 1000, FI-02044 VTT, Finland.


Agt1 is an interesting α-glucoside transporter for the brewing industry, as it efficiently transports maltotriose, a sugar often remaining partly unused during beer fermentation. It has been shown that on maltose the expression level of AGT1 is much higher in ale strains than in lager strains, and that glucose represses the expression, particularly in the ale strains. In the present study the regulatory elements of the AGT1 promoter of one ale and two lager strains were identified by computational methods. Promoter regions up to 1.9 kbp upstream of the AGT1 gene were sequenced from the three brewer's yeast strains and the laboratory yeast strain CEN.PK-1D. The promoter sequence of the laboratory strain was identical to the AGT1 promoter of strain S288c of the Saccharomyces Genome Database, whereas the promoter sequences of the industrial strains diverged markedly from the S288c strain. The AGT1 promoter regions of the ale and lager strains were for the most part identical to each other, except for one 22 bp deletion and two 94 and 95 bp insertions in the ale strain. Computational analyses of promoter elements revealed that the promoter sequences contained several Mig1- and MAL-activator binding sites, as was expected. However, some of the Mig1 and MAL-activator binding sites were located on the two insertions of the ale strain, and thus offered a plausible explanation for the different expression pattern of the AGT1 gene in the ale strains. Accordingly, functional analysis of A60 ale and A15 lager strain AGT1 promoters fused to GFP (encoding the green fluorescent protein) showed a significant difference in the ability of these two promoters to drive GFP expression. Under the control of the AGT1 promoter of the ale strain the emergence of GFP was strongly induced by maltose, whereas only a low level of GFP was detected with the construct carrying the AGT1 promoter of the lager strain. Thus, the extra MAL-activator binding element, present in the AGT1 promoter of the ale strain, appears to be necessary to reach a high level of induction by maltose. Both AGT1 promoters were repressed by glucose but their derepression was different, possibly due to a distinct distribution of Mig1 elements in these two promoters.

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