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Keywords:

  • dynamics;
  • glycolysis;
  • oscillations;
  • training;
  • yeast

In both industrial fermenters and in their natural habitats, microorganisms often experience an inhomogeneous and fluctuating environment. In this paper we mimicked one aspect of this nonideal behaviour by imposing a low and oscillating extracellular glucose concentration on nonoscillating suspensions of yeast cells. The extracellular dynamics changed the intracellular dynamics – which was monitored through NADH fluorescence – from steady to equally dynamic; the latter followed the extracellular dynamics at the frequency of glucose pulsing. Interestingly, the amplitude of the oscillation of the NADH fluorescence increased with time. This increase in amplitude was sensitive to inhibition of protein synthesis, and was due to a change in the cells rather than in the medium; the cell population was ‘trained’ to respond to the extracellular dynamics. To examine the mechanism behind this ‘training’, we subjected the cells to a low and constant extracellular glucose concentration. Seventy-five minutes of adaptation to a low and constant glucose concentration induced the same increase of the amplitude of the forced NADH oscillations as did the train of glucose pulses. Furthermore, 75 min of adaptation to a low (oscillating or continuous) glucose concentration decreased the KM of the glucose transporter from 26 mm to 3.5 mm. When subsequently the apparent KM was increased by addition of maltose, the amplitude of the forced oscillations dropped to its original value. This demonstrated that the increased affinity of glucose transport was essential for the training of the cells' dynamics.