In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the synthesis of endogenous trehalose is catalyzed by a trehalose synthase complex, TPS, and its hydrolysis relies on a cytosolic/neutral trehalase encoded by NTH1. In this work, we showed that NTH2, a paralog of NTH1, encodes a functional trehalase that is implicated in trehalose mobilization. Yeast is also endowed with an acid trehalase encoded by ATH1 and an H+/trehalose transporter encoded by AGT1, which can together sustain assimilation of exogenous trehalose. We showed that a tps1 mutant defective in the TPS catalytic subunit cultivated on trehalose, or on a dual source of carbon made of galactose and trehalose, accumulated high levels of intracellular trehalose by its Agt1p-mediated transport. The accumulated disaccharide was mobilized as soon as cells entered the stationary phase by a process requiring a coupling between its export and immediate extracellular hydrolysis by Ath1p. Compared to what is seen for classical growth conditions on glucose, this mobilization was rather unique, since it took place prior to that of glycogen, which was postponed until the late stationary phase. However, when the Ath1p-dependent mobilization of trehalose identified in this study was impaired, glycogen was mobilized earlier and faster, indicating a fine-tuning control in carbon storage management during periods of carbon and energy restriction.
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