Lager yeasts possess dynamic genomes that undergo rearrangements and gene amplification in response to stress.

JAMES, Tharappel C, USHER, Jane, CAMPBELL, Susan and BOND, Ursula (2008). Lager yeasts possess dynamic genomes that undergo rearrangements and gene amplification in response to stress. Current genetics, 53 (3), 139-152.

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A long-term goal of the brewing industry is to identify yeast strains with increased tolerance to the stresses experienced during the brewing process. We have characterised the genomes of a number of stress-tolerant mutants, derived from the lager yeast strain CMBS-33, that were selected for tolerance to high temperatures and to growth in high specific gravity wort. Our results indicate that the heat-tolerant strains have undergone a number of gross chromosomal rearrangements when compared to the parental strain. To determine if such rearrangements can spontaneously arise in response to exposure to stress conditions experienced during the brewing process, we examined the chromosome integrity of both the stress-tolerant strains and their parent during a single round of fermentation under a variety of environmental stresses. Our results show that the lager yeast genome shows tremendous plasticity during fermentation, especially when fermentations are carried out in high specific gravity wort and at higher than normal temperatures. Many localised regions of gene amplification were observed especially at the telomeres and at the rRNA gene locus on chromosome XII, and general chromosomal instability was evident. However, gross chromosomal rearrangements were not detected, indicating that continued selection in the stress conditions are required to obtain clonal isolates with stable rearrangements. Taken together, the data suggest that lager yeasts display a high degree of genomic plasticity and undergo genomic changes in response to environmental stress.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Biomedical Research Centre
Identification Number:
Page Range: 139-152
Depositing User: Susan Campbell
Date Deposited: 06 Aug 2014 08:16
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 23:30

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