The cytosolic pH of individual Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells is a key factor in acetic acid tolerance

Miguel Fernández-Niño, Maribel Marquina, Steve Swinnen, Boris Rodríguez-Porrata, Elke Nevoigt, Joaquín Ariño

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30 Citations (Scopus)


© 2015, American Society for Microbiology. It was shown recently that individual cells of an isogenic Saccharomyces cerevisiae population show variability in acetic acid tolerance, and this variability affects the quantitative manifestation of the trait at the population level. In the current study, we investigated whether cell-to-cell variability in acetic acid tolerance could be explained by the observed differences in the cytosolic pHs of individual cells immediately before exposure to the acid. Results obtained with cells of the strain CEN.PK113-7D in synthetic medium containing 96m Macetic acid (pH 4.5) showed a direct correlation between the initial cytosolic pH and the cytosolic pH drop after exposure to the acid. Moreover, only cells with a low initial cytosolic pH, which experienced a less severe drop in cytosolic pH, were able to proliferate. A similar correlation between initial cytosolic pH and cytosolic pH drop was also observed in the more acid-tolerant strain MUCL 11987-9. Interestingly, a fraction of cells in the MUCL 11987-9 population showed initial cytosolic pH values below the minimal cytosolic pH detected in cells of the strain CEN.PK113-7D; consequently, these cells experienced less severe drops in cytosolic pH. Although this might explain in part the difference between the two strains with regard to the number of cells that resumed proliferation, it was observed that all cells from strain MUCL 11987-9 were able to proliferate, independently of their initial cytosolic pH. Therefore, other factors must also be involved in the greater ability of MUCL 11987-9 cells to endure strong drops in cytosolic pH.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7813-7821
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


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