Sch9p kinase and the Gcn4p transcription factor regulate glycerol production during winemaking

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Abstract

Grape juice fermentation is a harsh environment with many stressful conditions, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae adapts its metabolism in response to those environmental challenges. Many nutrient-sensing pathways control this feature. The Tor/Sch9p pathway promotes growth and protein synthesis when nutrients are plenty, while the transcription factor Gcn4p is required for the activation of amino acid biosynthetic pathways. We previously showed that Sch9p impact on longevity depends on the nitrogen/carbon ratio. When nitrogen is limiting, SCH9 deletion shortens chronological life span, which is the case under winemaking conditions. Its deletion also increases glycerol during fermentation, so the impact of this pathway on metabolism under winemaking conditions was studied by transcriptomic and metabolomic approaches. SCH9 deletion causes the upregulation of many amino acid biosynthesis pathways. When Gcn4p was overexpressed during winemaking, increased glycerol production was also observed. Therefore, both pathways are related in terms of glycerol production. SCH9 deletion increased the amount of the limiting enzyme in glycerol biosynthesis, glycerol-3-P dehydrogenase Gpd1p at the protein level. The impact on the metabolome of SCH9 deletion and GCN4 overexpression differed, although both showed a downregulation of glycolysis. SCH9 deletion downregulated the amount of most proteinogenic amino acids and increased the amount of lipids, such as ergosterol.

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