Kyokai no. 7 is the most widely used yeast in sake brewing. This yeast is a pantothenic acid auxotroph at 35 degrees C, and this phenotype has been used to distinguish Kyokai no. 7 from other sake yeasts. We cloned a DNA fragment complementing the pantothenic acid auxotrophy from a genomic library of a Saccharomyces cerevisiae laboratory strain. DNA sequence analysis revealed that the DNA fragment encodes ECM31, the deletion of which had previously been identified as a calcofluor white-sensitive mutation. The ECM31 product is similar to the Escherichia coli ketopantoate hydroxymethyltransferase. Disruption of ECM31 in a laboratory S. cerevisiae strain resulted in pantothenic acid auxotrophy, indicating that ECM31 is also involved in pantothenic acid synthesis in yeast. A hybrid of a Kyokai no. 7 haploid and the ecm31 disruptant required pantothenic acid at 35 degrees C for its growth, suggesting that Kyokai no. 7 possesses a temperature-sensitive allele of ECM31. Thus, the ECM31 gene can be used as a selective marker in the transformation of Kyokai no. 7.
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