Glycerol stress in Saccharomyces cerevisiae Cellular responses and evolved adaptations

Florian Mattenberger, Beatriz Sabater-Muñoz, John E Hallsworth, Mario A Fares

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Glycerol synthesis is key to central metabolism and stress biology in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, yet the cellular adjustments needed to respond and adapt to glycerol stress are little understood. Here, we determined impacts of acute and chronic exposures to glycerol stress in S. cerevisiae. Glycerol stress can result from an increase of glycerol concentration in the medium due to the S. cerevisiae fermenting activity or other metabolic activities. Acute glycerol-stress led to a 50% decline in growth rate and altered transcription of more than 40% of genes. The increased genetic diversity in S. cerevisiae population, which had evolved in the standard nutrient medium for hundreds of generations, led to an increase in growth rate and altered transcriptome when such population was transferred to stressful media containing a high concentration of glycerol; 0.41 M (0.990 water activity). Evolution of S. cerevisiae populations during a 10-day period in the glycerol-containing medium led to transcriptome changes and readjustments to improve control of glycerol flux across the membrane, regulation of cell cycle, and more robust stress response; and a remarkable increase of growth rate under glycerol stress. Most of the observed regulatory changes arose in duplicated genes. These findings elucidate the physiological mechanisms, which underlie glycerol-stress response, and longer-term adaptations, in S. cerevisiae; they also have implications for enigmatic aspects of the ecology of this otherwise well-characterized yeast.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)990-1007
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology
Issue number3
Early online date23 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - 01 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Acclimatization
  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Fermentation
  • Glycerol
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • Stress, Physiological
  • Journal Article

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