Applied and Environmental Microbiology vol:79 issue:23 pages:7325-7333
The behavior of yeast cells during industrial processes such as the production of beer, wine, and bioethanol has been extensively studied. In contrast, our knowledge about yeast physiology during solid-state processes, such as bread dough, cheese, or cocoa fermentation, remains limited. We investigated changes in the transcriptomes of three genetically distinct Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains during bread dough fermentation. Our results show that regardless of the genetic background, all three strains exhibit similar changes in expression patterns. At the onset of fermentation, expression of glucose-regulated genes changes dramatically, and the osmotic stress response is activated. The middle fermentation phase is characterized by the induction of genes involved in amino acid metabolism. Finally, at the latest time point, cells suffer from nutrient depletion and activate pathways associated with starvation and stress responses. Further analysis shows that genes regulated by the high-osmolarity glycerol (HOG) pathway, the major pathway involved in the response to osmotic stress and glycerol homeostasis, are among the most differentially expressed genes at the onset of fermentation. More importantly, deletion of HOG1 and other genes of this pathway significantly reduces the fermentation capacity. Together, our results demonstrate that cells embedded in a solid matrix such as bread dough suffer severe osmotic stress and that a proper induction of the HOG pathway is critical for optimal fermentation.