The fraction of cells that resume growth after acetic acid addition is a strain-dependent parameter of acetic acid tolerance in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.FEMS Yeast Res. 2014 Jun; 14(4):642-53.FY
High acetic acid tolerance of Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a relevant phenotype in industrial biotechnology when using lignocellulosic hydrolysates as feedstock. A screening of 38 S. cerevisiae strains for tolerance to acetic acid revealed considerable differences, particularly with regard to the duration of the latency phase. To understand how this phenotype is quantitatively manifested, four strains exhibiting significant differences were studied in more detail. Our data show that the duration of the latency phase is primarily determined by the fraction of cells within the population that resume growth. Only this fraction contributed to the exponential growth observed after the latency phase, while all other cells persisted in a viable but non-proliferating state. A remarkable variation in the size of the fraction was observed among the tested strains differing by several orders of magnitude. In fact, only 11 out of 10(7) cells of the industrial bioethanol production strain Ethanol Red resumed growth after exposure to 157 mM acetic acid at pH 4.5, while this fraction was 3.6 × 10(6) (out of 10(7) cells) in the highly acetic acid tolerant isolate ATCC 96581. These strain-specific differences are genetically determined and represent a valuable starting point to identify genetic targets for future strain improvement.