Maltose and maltotriose are the major sugars in brewer's wort. Brewer's yeasts contain multiple genes for maltose transporters. It is not known which of these express functional transporters. We correlated maltose transport kinetics with the genotypes of some ale and lager yeasts. Maltose transport by two ale strains was strongly inhibited by other α-glucosides, suggesting the use of broad substrate specificity transporters, such as Agt1p. Maltose transport by three lager strains was weakly inhibited by other α-glucosides, suggesting the use of narrow substrate specificity transporters. Hybridization studies showed that all five strains contained complete MAL1, MAL2, MAL3, and MAL4 loci, except for one ale strain, which lacked a MAL2 locus. All five strains also contained both AGT1 (coding a broad specificity α-glucoside transporter) and MAL11 alleles. MPH genes (maltose permease homologues) were present in the lager but not in the ale strains. During growth on maltose, the lager strains expressed AGT1 at low levels and MALx1 genes at high levels, whereas the ale strains expressed AGT1 at high levels and MALx1 genes at low levels. MPHx expression was negligible in all strains. The AGT1 sequences from the ale strains encoded full-length (616 amino acid) polypeptides, but those from both sequenced lager strains encoded truncated (394 amino acid) polypeptides that are unlikely to be functional transporters. Thus, despite the apparently similar genotypes of these ale and lager strains revealed by hybridization, maltose is predominantly carried by AGT1-encoded transporters in the ale strains and by MALx1-encoded transporters in the lager strains.
Vidgren, V., Ruohonen, L., & Londesborough, J. (2005). Characterization and functional analysis of the MAL and MPH loci for maltose utilization in some ale and lager yeast strains. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 71(12), 7846 - 7857. https://doi.org/10.1128/AEM.71.12.7846-7857.2005