The highly NaCl-tolerant yeast Debaryomyces hansenii produces and obtains high levels of intracellular glycerol as a compatible solute when grown at high NaCl concentrations. The effect of high NaCl concentrations (4%, 8% and 12% w/v) on the glycerol production and the levels of intra- and extracellular glycerol was determined for two D. hansenii strains with different NaCl tolerance and compared to one strain of the moderately NaCl-tolerant yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Initially, high NaCl tolerance seems to be determined by enhanced glycerol production, due to an increased expression of DhGPD1 and DhGPP2 (AL436338) in D. hansenii and GPD1 and GPP2 in S. cerevisiae; however, the ability to obtain high levels of intracellular glycerol seems to be more important. The two D. hansenii strains had higher levels of intracellular glycerol than the S. cerevisiae strain and were able to obtain high levels of intracellular glycerol, even at very high NaCl concentrations, indicating the presence of, for example, a type of closing channel, as previously described for other yeast species.
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