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Microb Biotechnol. 2014 Jul;7(4):307-14. doi: 10.1111/1751-7915.12121. Epub 2014 Apr 30.

The relationship between lysine 4 on histone H3 methylation levels of alcohol tolerance genes and changes of ethanol tolerance in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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Department of Bioengineering, College of Biological Science and Biotechnology, Fuzhou University, Fuzhou, Fujian, China.


We evaluated whether epigenetic changes contributed to improve ethanol tolerance in mutant populations of Saccharomyces cerevisiae (S. cerevisiae). Two ethanol-tolerant variants of S. cerevisiae were used to evaluate the genetic stability in the process of stress-free passage cultures. We found that acquired ethanol tolerance was lost and transcription level of some genes (HSP104, PRO1, TPS1, and SOD1) closely related to ethanol tolerance decreased significantly after the 10th passage in ethanol-free medium. Tri-methylation of lysine 4 on histone H3 (H3K4) enhanced at the promoter of HSP104, PRO1, TPS1 and SOD1 in ethanol-tolerant variants of S. cerevisiae was also diminished after tenth passage in stress-free cultures. The ethanol tolerance was reacquired when exogenous SOD1 transferred in some tolerance-lost strains. This showed that H3K4 methylation is involved in phenotypic variation with regard to ethanol tolerance with respect to classic breeding methods used in yeast.

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