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J Biosci Bioeng. 2013 Jul;116(1):71-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiosc.2013.01.006. Epub 2013 Feb 7.

Genetic instability of constitutive acid phosphatase in shochu and sake yeast.

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Research & Development Laboratory, Sanwa Shurui Co., Ltd., 2231-1 Yamamoto, Usa, Oita 879-0495, Japan.


Genetic instability of constitutive acid phosphatase (cAPase) activity was observed in a shochu brewer's yeast strain (Ko), which consistently produced 0.3-1% progeny without cAPase when it had been subcultured for a long period of time in barley shochu mash or in conventional complete medium. Genetic analysis showed that the cAPase-negative phenotype was associated with a single mutation in the PHO3 gene and that the Ko strain had heteroallelic PHO3/pho3 genes, while the PHO3⁻ mutants had the homoallelic pho3/pho3 defect. Some sake yeast strains that are cAPase negative, such as K6, K7 and K9, also had the same homoallelic defect, whereas another sake yeast strain K3, with heteroallelic PHO3/pho3 genes, displayed similar genetic instability of cAPase activity. In all cases, the pho3-defective genes were generated by deletion of an approximately 1.9 kb region between the PHO5-PHO3 tandem genes on chromosome II, resulting in chimeric PHO5/3 fusion genes with different fusion points. By integrating a lys2 marker, which is linked with the pho3 allele on the arm of chromosome II in the Ko strain, we demonstrated that the pho3/pho3 defect originated either from a loss of heterozygosity at the heteroallelic PHO3/pho3 locus or from a looping out of the PHO3 region. Although fermentation experiments have not yet indicated any correlation between cAPase activity and alcohol production, the PHO3⁻ mutation itself could prove to be a useful selective marker for yeast strains carrying a number of advantageous mutations for fermentation and which display phenotypic diversity and stability.

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