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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2013 Sep;79(17):5345-56. doi: 10.1128/AEM.01144-13. Epub 2013 Jun 28.

Fermentation temperature modulates phosphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidylinositol levels in the cell membrane of Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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Biophysics Graduate Group, University of California, Davis, California, USA.


During alcoholic fermentation, Saccharomyces cerevisiae is exposed to a host of environmental and physiological stresses. Extremes of fermentation temperature have previously been demonstrated to induce fermentation arrest under growth conditions that would otherwise result in complete sugar utilization at "normal" temperatures and nutrient levels. Fermentations were carried out at 15°C, 25°C, and 35°C in a defined high-sugar medium using three Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains with diverse fermentation characteristics. The lipid composition of these strains was analyzed at two fermentation stages, when ethanol levels were low early in stationary phase and in late stationary phase at high ethanol concentrations. Several lipids exhibited dramatic differences in membrane concentration in a temperature-dependent manner. Principal component analysis (PCA) was used as a tool to elucidate correlations between specific lipid species and fermentation temperature for each yeast strain. Fermentations carried out at 35°C exhibited very high concentrations of several phosphatidylinositol species, whereas at 15°C these yeast strains exhibited higher levels of phosphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidylcholine species with medium-chain fatty acids. Furthermore, membrane concentrations of ergosterol were highest in the yeast strain that experienced stuck fermentations at all three temperatures. Fluorescence anisotropy measurements of yeast cell membrane fluidity during fermentation were carried out using the lipophilic fluorophore diphenylhexatriene. These measurements demonstrate that the changes in the lipid composition of these yeast strains across the range of fermentation temperatures used in this study did not significantly affect cell membrane fluidity. However, the results from this study indicate that fermenting S. cerevisiae modulates its membrane lipid composition in a temperature-dependent manner.

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