Brettanomyces is the major microbial cause for wine spoilage worldwide and causes significant economic losses. Like Saccharomyces cerevisiae, it is well adapted to winemaking, but molecular pathways involved in this acclimatization are still unknown. In this work, we report a time-scale comparison between the two yeasts coping with alcoholic fermentation. Orthologs of some well-characterized stress genes of S. cerevisiae were searched by sequence alignment in the Dekkera/Brettanomyces partial genome; nine genes were finally selected on the basis on their similarity and involvement in adaptation to wine. Transcript analysis during a model grape juice fermentation indicates that a subset of genes (i.e., ATP1, ERG6, VPS34) shows peculiar expression patterns in Brettanomyces bruxellensis but also that some common regulations of stress response exist between the two yeasts, although with different timing (i.e., for MSN4, SNF1, HSP82, NTH1). This suggests that B. bruxellensis efficient survival in such challenging conditions is due to mechanisms unique to it, together with a conserved yeast stress response. This study, although limited by the poor genetic data available on B. bruxellensis, provides first insights into its gene expression remodeling in winemaking and opens new frames for further investigations.
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