Research Article: Genetic variation and expression changes associated with molybdate resistance from a glutathione producing wine strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Date Published: July 6, 2017

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Francesco Mezzetti, Justin C. Fay, Paolo Giudici, Luciana De Vero, Arthur J. Lustig.


Glutathione (GSH) production during wine fermentation is a desirable trait as it can limit must and wine oxidation and protect various aromatic compounds. UMCC 2581 is a Saccharomyces cerevisiae wine strain with enhanced GSH content at the end of wine fermentation. This strain was previously derived by selection for molybdate resistance following a sexual cycle of UMCC 855 using an evolution-based strategy. In this study, we examined genetic and gene expression changes associated with the derivation of UMCC 2581. For genetic analysis we sporulated the diploid UMCC 855 parental strain and found four phenotype classes of segregants related to molybdate resistance, demonstrating the presence of segregating variation from the parental strain. Using bulk segregant analysis we mapped molybdate traits to two loci. By sequencing both the parental and evolved strain genomes we identified candidate mutations within the two regions as well as an extra copy of chromosome 1 in UMCC 2581. Combining the mapped loci with gene expression profiles of the evolved and parental strains we identified a number of candidate genes with genetic and/or gene expression changes that could underlie molybdate resistance and increased GSH levels. Our results provide insight into the genetic basis of GSH production relevant to winemaking and highlight the value of enhancing wine strains using existing variation present in wine strains.

Partial Text

Oxidation during wine production is an important source of off-flavors [1,2]. Glutathione (GSH) is a strong antioxidant and may improve wine quality through preservation of aromatic compounds produced during fermentation and prevention of off-flavors generated by oxidation [3]. Moreover, GSH could contribute to the reduction of sulfur dioxide, which is used to prevent wine spoilage but can have a negative impact on consumer preference and flavor [4]. Accordingly, there is strong interest in developing novel wine yeast strains with enhanced GSH production [5].

GSH-producing wine yeasts are of great interest due to the important role of GSH in limiting must and wine oxidation and in protecting various aromatic compounds. Evolutionary engineering, involving selection for desirable phenotypes over multiple generations and/or sexual cycles, has been successfully used to improve yeast strains used for wine fermentation without creating genetically modified organisms. In a previous study [11], evolutionary engineering was used to derive an evolved strain (UMCC 2581) with enhanced GSH production by selection for molybdate resistance. In this study, we used bulk segregant analysis, genome sequencing of the parental (UMCC 855) and evolved strain, and transcriptome profiling to identify the genetic and molecular basis of the phenotypic differences between these strains. We find a locus on chromosome 12 has a large effect on molybdate resistance among progeny of the parental strain. However, we also find another locus on chromosome 4 that is associated with the enhanced phenotype (colony color and molybdate resistance) in the evolved strain. Combining the QTL, genomic analysis and transcriptome analysis we identify and discuss below a number of plausible genes and mechanisms of molybdate resistance and GSH levels of the evolved strain.

In this work, we identified genetic and transcriptional changes that may underlay the high GSH production demonstrated by the wine strain UMCC 2581. We identified two QTL and seven candidate genes along with 296 differentially expressed genes between parental and evolved strain. The combination of multiple QTL and expression changes suggest multiple factors underlying molybdate resistance and GSH production. A number of genes associated with more general transport pathways could also play a role in promoting cell survival under metal/oxidative stress conditions and in the GSH production and homeostasis. Further work will be needed to pinpoint the genes involved as well as examine the consequence of the chromosome 1 aneuploidy.




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