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Yeast. 1996 Mar 15;12(3):215-25.

Malolactic fermentation by engineered Saccharomyces cerevisiae as compared with engineered Schizosaccharomyces pombe.

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IPV-Laboratoire de Microbiologie et Technologie des Fermentation, Montpellier, France.


The ability of yeast strains to perform both alcoholic and malolactic fermentation in winemaking was studied with a view to achieving a better control of malolactic fermentation in enology. The malolactic gene of Lactococcus lactis (mleS) was expressed in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Schizosaccharomyces pombe. The heterologous protein is expressed at a high level in cell extracts of a S. cerevisiae strain expressing the gene mleS under the control of the alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH1) promoter on a multicopy plasmid. Malolactic enzyme specific activity is three times higher than in L. lactis extracts. Saccharomyces cerevisiae expressing the malolactic enzyme produces significant amounts of L-lactate during fermentation on glucose-rich medium in the presence of malic acid. Isotopic filiation was used to demonstrate that 75% of the L-lactate produced originates from endogenous L-malate and 25% from exogenous L-malate. Moreover, although a small amount of exogenous L-malate was degraded by S. cerevisiae transformed or not by mleS, all the exogenous degraded L-malate was converted into L-lactate via a malolactic reaction in the recombinant strain, providing evidence for very efficient competition of malolactic enzyme with the endogenous malic acid pathways. These results indicate that the sole limiting step for S. cerevisiae in achieving malolactic fermentation is in malate transport. This was confirmed using a different model, S. pombe, which efficiently degrades L-malate. Total malolactic fermentation was obtained in this strain, with most of the L-malate converted into L-lactate and CO2. Moreover, L-malate was used preferentially by the malolactic enzyme in this strain also.

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