Effects of oxygen provision on the physiology of baker's yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae: Dissertation

Eija Rintala

Research output: ThesisDissertationCollection of Articles


The availability of oxygen has a major effect on all organisms. The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is able to adapt its metabolism for growth in different conditions of oxygen provision, and to grow even under complete lack of oxygen. Although the physiology of S. cerevisiae has mainly been studied under fully aerobic and anaerobic conditions, less is known of metabolism under oxygen-limited conditions and of the adaptation to changing conditions of oxygen provision. This study compared the physiology of S. cerevisiae in conditions of five levels of oxygen provision (0, 0.5, 1.0, 2.8 and 20.9% O2 in feed gas) by using measurements on metabolite, transcriptome and proteome levels. On the transcriptional level, the main differences were observed between the three level groups, 0, 0.5-2.8 and 20.9% O2 which led to fully fermentative, respiro-fermentative and fully respiratory modes of metabolism, respectively. However, proteome analysis suggested post-transcriptional regulation at the level of 0.5 O2. The analysis of metabolite and transcript levels of central carbon metabolism also suggested post-transcriptional regulation especially in glycolysis. Further, a global upregulation of genes related to respiratory pathways was observed in the oxygen-limited conditions and the same trend was seen in the proteome analysis and in the activities of enzymes of the TCA cycle. The responses of intracellular metabolites related to central carbon metabolism and transcriptional responses to change in oxygen availability were studied. As a response to sudden oxygen depletion, concentrations of the metabolites of central carbon metabolism responded faster than the corresponding levels of gene expression. In general, the genome-wide transcriptional responses to oxygen depletion were highly similar when two different initial conditions of oxygen provision (20.9 and 1.0% O2) were compared. The genes related to growth and cell proliferation were transiently downregulated whereas the genes related to protein degradation and phosphate uptake were transiently upregulated. In the cultures initially receiving 1.0% O2, a transient upregulation of genes related to fatty acid oxidation, peroxisomal biogenesis, response to oxidative stress and pentose phosphate pathway was observed. Additionally, this work analysed the effect of oxygen on transcription of genes belonging to the hexose transporter gene family. Although the specific glucose uptake rate was highest in fully anaerobic conditions, none of the hxt genes showed highest expression in anaerobic conditions. However, the expression of genes encoding the moderately low affinity transporters decreased with the decreasing oxygen level. Thus it was concluded that there is a relative increase in high affinity transport in anaerobic conditions supporting the high uptake rate.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor Degree
Awarding Institution
  • University of Helsinki
Award date26 Nov 2010
Place of PublicationEspoo
Print ISBNs978-951-38-7413-1
Electronic ISBNs978-951-38-7414-8
Publication statusPublished - 2010
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • oxygen
  • transcriptome
  • proteome
  • hexose
  • transporters
  • central carbon metabolism
  • trac
  • metabolites


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