RNA-seq based transcriptional analysis of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Lachancea thermotolerans in mixed-culture fermentations under anaerobic conditions

Shekhawat, Kirti ; Patterton, Hugh ; Bauer, Florian F. ; Setati, Mathabatha E. (2019)

CITATION: Shekhawat, K., et al. 2019. RNA-seq based transcriptional analysis of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Lachancea thermotolerans in mixed-culture fermentations under anaerobic conditions. BMC Genomics, 20:145, doi:10.1186/s12864-019-5511-x.

The original publication is available at https://bmcgenomics.biomedcentral.com

Publication of this article was funded by the Stellenbosch University Open Access Fund.

Article

Background: In wine fermentation starter cultures, the blending of non-Saccharomyces yeast with Saccharomyces cerevisiae to improve the complexity of wine has become common practice, but data regarding the impact of co-cultivation on yeast physiology and on genetic and metabolic regulation remain limited. Here we describe a transcriptomic analysis of mixed fermentations of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Lachancea thermotolerans. The fermentations were carried out in carefully controlled environmental conditions in a bioreactor to reduce transcriptomic responses that would be due to factors other than the presence of the second species. Results: The transcriptomic data revealed that both yeast species showed a clear response to the presence of the other. Affected genes primarily belonged to two groups: genes whose expression can be linked to the competition for certain trace elements such as copper and iron, as well as genes required for cell wall structure and integrity. Furthermore, the data revealed divergent transcriptional responses with regard to carbon metabolism in response to anoxic conditions. Conclusions: The results suggest that the mixed fermentation created a more competitive and stressful environment for the two species than single strain fermentations independently from total biomass, i.e. competition between cells of the same species is less stressful, or may present a different set of challenges, than interspecies competition. The changes in cell wall and adhesion properties encoding genes suggest that the adjustment of physical contact between cells may play a direct role in the response to the presence of competing species.

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