The role of trehalose in dehydration resistance of Saccharomyces cerevisiae


G.M. Gadd, Dept. of Biological Sciences, University of Dundee, Dundee, DD1 4HN, U.K.


Abstract High levels of intracellular trehalose in stationary-phase cells of Saccharomyces cerevisiae or cells incubated in the absence of a nitrogen source were found to increase the resistance of the cells to dehydration. Exponential-phase cells showed negligible dehydration resistance. When stationary-phase cells were inoculated into fresh medium, trehalose was rapidly broken down, and this was correlated with a rapid loss of dehydration resistance. It appeared that a minimum internal concentration of 120 mM trehalose was required before there was a significant increase in dehydration resistance. Exogenous trehalose increased the dehydration resistance of S. cerevisiae: this effect was most marked for stationary-phase cells, where almost 100% survival was obtained at trehalose concentrations of 500 mM and above while maximum survival for exponential cells was less than 10%, even at 1000 mM external trehalose.