The role of Stl1p in glycerol accumulation in osmotically stressed icewine yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae K1 V1116
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The high sugar concentration in Icewine juice exerts hyperosmotic stress in the wine yeast causing water loss and cell shrinkage. To counteract the dehydration, yeast synthesize and accumulate glycerol as an internal osmolyte. In a laboratory strain of S. cerevisiae, STLl encodes for Stllp, an H+ /glycerol symporter that is glucose inactivated, but induced upon hyperosmotic stress. STLl, was found to be a highly upregulated gene in Icewine fermenting cells and its expression was 25-fold greater than in yeast cells fermenting diluted Icewine juice, making it one of the most differentially expressed genes between the two fermentation conditions. In addition, Icewine fermenting cells showed a two-fold higher glycerol production in the wine compared to yeast fermenting diluted Icewine juice. We proposed that Stllp is (1) active during Icewine fermentation and is not glucose inactivated and (2) its activity contributes to the limited cell growth observed during Icewine fermentation as a result of the dissipation of the plasma membrane proton gradient. To measure the contribution ofStl1p in active glycerol transport (energy dependent) during Icewine fermentation, we first developed an Stllp-dependent (14C]glycerol uptake assay using a laboratory strain of S. cerevisiae (BY 4742 and LiSTLl) that was dependent on the plasma membrane proton gradient and therefore energy-dependent. Wine yeast K1-Vll16 was also shown to have this energy dependent glycerol uptake induced under salt stress. The expression of STLl and Stllp activity were compared between yeast cells harvested from Icewine and diluted Icewine fermentations. Northern blot analysis revealed that STLl was expressed in cells fermenting Icewine juice but not expressed under the diluted juice conditions. Glycerol uptake by cells fermenting Icewine juice was not significantly different than cells fermenting diluted Icewine juice on day 4 and day 7 of Vidal and Riesling fermentations respectively, despite encountering greater hyperosmotic stress. Furthermore, energy- dependent glycerol uptake was not detected under either fermentation conditions. Because our findings show that active glycerol uptake was not detected in yeast cells harvested from Icewine fermentation, it is likely that Stllp was glucose inactivated despite the hyperosmotic stress induced by the Icewine juice and therefore did not play a role in active glycerol uptake during Icewine fermentation.