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Biotechnol Biofuels. 2019 Mar 19;12:59. doi: 10.1186/s13068-019-1398-7. eCollection 2019.

QTL analysis reveals genomic variants linked to high-temperature fermentation performance in the industrial yeast.

Wang Z#1,2, Qi Q#1,2, Lin Y1, Guo Y1, Liu Y1,2, Wang Q1.

Author information

1CAS Key Laboratory of Systems Microbial Biotechnology, Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Tianjin, 300308 China.
2University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100049 China.
Contributed equally



High-temperature fermentation is desirable for the industrial production of ethanol, which requires thermotolerant yeast strains. However, yeast thermotolerance is a complicated quantitative trait. The understanding of genetic basis behind high-temperature fermentation performance is still limited. Quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping by pooled-segregant whole genome sequencing has been proved to be a powerful and reliable approach to identify the loci, genes and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) variants linked to quantitative traits of yeast.


One superior thermotolerant industrial strain and one inferior thermosensitive natural strain with distinct high-temperature fermentation performances were screened from 124 Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains as parent strains for crossing and segregant isolation. Based on QTL mapping by pooled-segregant whole genome sequencing as well as the subsequent reciprocal hemizygosity analysis (RHA) and allele replacement analysis, we identified and validated total eight causative genes in four QTLs that linked to high-temperature fermentation of yeast. Interestingly, loss of heterozygosity in five of the eight causative genes including RXT2, ECM24, CSC1, IRA2 and AVO1 exhibited positive effects on high-temperature fermentation. Principal component analysis (PCA) of high-temperature fermentation data from all the RHA and allele replacement strains of those eight genes distinguished three superior parent alleles including VPS34, VID24 and DAP1 to be greatly beneficial to high-temperature fermentation in contrast to their inferior parent alleles. Strikingly, physiological impacts of the superior parent alleles of VPS34, VID24 and DAP1 converged on cell membrane by increasing trehalose accumulation or reducing membrane fluidity.


This work revealed eight novel causative genes and SNP variants closely associated with high-temperature fermentation performance. Among these genes, VPS34 and DAP1 would be good targets for improving high-temperature fermentation of the industrial yeast. It also showed that loss of heterozygosity of causative genes could contribute to the improvement of high-temperature fermentation capacities. Our findings would provide guides to develop more robust and thermotolerant strains for the industrial production of ethanol.


Allele replacement; High-temperature fermentation (HTF); Pooled-segregant whole-genome sequence analysis; QTL mapping; Reciprocal hemizygosity analysis; Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that there are no competing interests.

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