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Roles of Sugar Alcohols in Osmotic Stress Adaptation. Replacement of Glycerol by Mannitol and Sorbitol in Yeast

Bo Shen, Stefan Hohmann, Richard G. Jensen and Hans J. Bohnert
Plant Physiology
Vol. 121, No. 1 (Sep., 1999), pp. 45-52
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4278915
Page Count: 8
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Roles of Sugar Alcohols in Osmotic Stress Adaptation. Replacement of Glycerol by Mannitol and Sorbitol in Yeast
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Abstract

For many organisms there is a correlation between increases of metabolites and osmotic stress tolerance, but the mechanisms that cause this protection are not clear. To understand the role of polyols, genes for bacterial mannitol-1-P dehydrogenase and apple sorbitol-6-P dehydrogenase were introduced into a Saccharomyces cerevisiae mutant deficient in glycerol synthesis. Sorbitol and mannitol provided some protection, but less than that generated by a similar concentration of glycerol generated by glycerol-3-P dehydrogenase (GPD1). Reduced protection by polyols suggested that glycerol had specific functions for which mannitol and sorbitol could not substitute, and that the absolute amount of the accumulating osmoticum might not be crucial. The retention of glycerol and mannitol/sorbitol, respectively, was a major difference. During salt stress, cells retained more of the six-carbon polyols than glycerol. We suggest that the loss of >98% of the glycerol synthesized could provide a safety valve that dissipates reducing power, while a similar high intracellular concentration of retained polyols would be less protective. To understand the role of glycerol in salt tolerance, salt-tolerant suppressor mutants were isolated from the glycerol-deficient strain. One mutant, sr13, partially suppressed the salt-sensitive phenotype of the glycerol-deficient line, probably due to a doubling of [K+] accumulating during stress. We compare these results to the "osmotic adjustment" concept typically applied to accumulating metabolites in plants. The accumulation of polyols may have dual functions: facilitating osmotic adjustment and supporting redox control.

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