The RIM101 pathway has a role in Saccharomyces cerevisiae adaptive response and resistance to propionic acid and other weak acids


  • Editor: André Goffeau

Correspondence: Isabel Sá-Correia, IBB, Centro de Engenharia Biológica e Química, Instituto Superior Técnico, Avenue Rovisco Pais, 1049-001 Lisboa, Portugal. Tel.: +351 21 841 7682; fax: +351 21 848 9199; e-mail:


The physiological function of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae RIM101 signaling pathway is extended in this study beyond alkaline pH-induced responses. The transcription factor Rim101p is demonstrated to be required for maximal tolerance to weak acid-induced stress, at pH 4.0, but does not exert protection against low pH itself (range 4.5–2.5), when a strong acid is used as the acidulant. The Rim101p-dependent alterations of the yeast transcriptome following exposure to propionic acid stress (at pH 4.0) include genes of the previously described Rim101p regulon but also new target genes, in particular KNH1, involved in cell wall β-1,6-glucan synthesis and the uncharacterized ORF YIL029c, both required for maximal propionic acid resistance. Clustering of the genes that provide resistance to propionic acid reveals the enrichment of those involved in protein catabolism through the multivesicular body pathway and in the homeostasis of internal pH and vacuolar function. The analysis of the network of interactions established among all the identified propionic acid resistance determinants shows an enrichment of interactions around the RIM101 gene and highlights the role of proteins involved in Rim101p proteolytic processing. RIM101 expression is shown to be required to counteract propionic acid-induced cytosolic acidification and for proper vacuolar acidification and cell wall structure, these having positive implications for a robust adaptive response and resistance to stress promoted by this food preservative.