Transport of glucose and fructose in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae plays a crucial role in controlling the rate of wine fermentation. In S. cerevisiae, hexoses are transported by facilitated diffusion via hexose carriers (Hxt), which prefer glucose to fructose. However, utilization of fructose by wine yeast is critically important at the end of fermentation. Here, we report the characterization of a fructose transporter recently identified by sequencing the genome of the commercial wine yeast strain EC1118 and found in many other wine yeasts. This transporter is designated Fsy1 because of its homology with the Saccharomyces pastorianus fructose/H(+) symporter Fsy1p. A strain obtained by transformation of the V5 hxt1-7Delta mutant with FSY1 grew well on fructose, and to a much lesser extent on glucose as the sole carbon source. Sugar uptake and symport experiments showed that FSY1 encodes a proton-coupled symporter with high affinity for fructose (Km 0.24 +/- 0.04 mM). Using Real-time RT-PCR, we also investigated the expression pattern of FSY1 in EC1118 growing on various carbon sources. We showed that FSY1 is repressed by high concentrations of glucose or fructose and is highly expressed on ethanol as the sole carbon source.The characteristics of this transporter indicate that its acquisition could confer a significant advantage to S. cerevisiae during the wine fermentation process. This transporter is a good example of acquisition of a new function in yeast by horizontal gene transfer.
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