Multiple α-glucoside transporter genes in brewer's yeast

Lene Jespersen, Lene B. Cesar, Philip G. Meaden, Mogens Jakobsen

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    Maltose and maltotriose are the two most abundant fermentable sugars in brewer's wort, and the rate of uptake of these sugars by brewer's yeast can have a major impact on fermentation performance. In spite of this, no information is currently available on the genetics of maltose and maltotriose uptake in brewing strains of yeast. In this work, we studied 30 brewing strains of yeast (5 ale strains and 25 lager strains) with the aim of examining the alleles of maltose and maltotriose transporter genes contained by them. To do this, we hybridized gene probes to chromosome blots. Studies performed with laboratory strains have shown that maltose utilization is conferred by any one of five unlinked but highly homologous MAL loci (MALl to MAL4 and MAL6). Gene 1 at each locus encodes a maltose transporter. All of the strains of brewer's yeast examined except two were found to contain MAL11 and MAL31 sequences, and only one of these strains lacked MAL41. MAL21 was not present in the five ale strains and 12 of the lager strains. MAL61 was not found in any of the yeast strains. In three of the lager strains, there was evidence that MAL transporter gene sequences occurred on chromosomes other than those known to carry MAL loci. Sequences corresponding to the AGT1 gene, which encodes a transporter of several a-glucosides, including maltose and maltotriose, were detected in all but one of the yeast strains. Homologues of AGT1 were identified in three of the lager strains, and two of these homologues were mapped, one to chromosome II and the other to chromosome XI. AGT1 appears to be a member of a family of closely related genes, which may have arisen in brewer's yeast in response to selective pressure.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)450-456
    Number of pages7
    JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 1999


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