Influence of ethanol and pH on the gene expression of the citrate pathway in Oenococcus oeni.Food Microbiol 2009; 26(2):197-203FM
The consumption of citrate by the malolactic bacterium Oenococcus oeni changes the aromatic profile of wines due to the production of volatile compounds such as diacetyl and acetic acid. In this study, the expression of genes related to citrate utilization in the O. oeni strain PSU-1 was investigated to further understand the role of this metabolic pathway in the adaptation to wine environment and its impact on organoleptic qualities. Different conditions of ethanol content (0% and 10%) and pH (3.5 and 4.0) were assayed to evaluate the transcriptional response to both these stress factors. In the presence of ethanol, metabolic and transcriptional behavior was different than the observed when ethanol was absent. The expression of citrate pathway genes was mainly affected by ethanol, while pH showed a lower effect. Among the studied genes, citE, ackA and alsD were the genes revealing a distinctive transcriptional response. The differences observed in gene expression were in correlation with the different content of end products such as acetic acid and diacetyl. The increment of gene expression observed in the presence of ethanol at low pH suggests the participation of citrate metabolism in the response to stress conditions.