The efficiency of nitrogen use is a key determinant of the completion of alcoholic fermentation. We analyzed the kinetics of consumption of 18 nitrogen compounds by 14 Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains of various origins in a synthetic medium that mimicked a grape must. The kinetic profiles of total nitrogen consumption were diverse, but the order of nitrogen source consumption was similar for all strains. The nitrogen compounds could be classified into three groups, according to their order of use: prematurely consumed (Lys), early consumed (Asp, Thr, Glu, Leu, His, Met, Ile, Ser, Gln, and Phe), and late consumed (ammonium, Val, Arg, Ala, Trp, and Tyr). The initial concentrations of these compounds did not alter the order in which they were consumed, except for arginine and ammonium. Early consumed amino acids are transported by specific permeases under Ssy1p-Ptr3p-Ssy5 (SPS)-mediated control that are expressed at the beginning of consumption. Most nitrogen compounds consumed late are transported by permeases under nitrogen catabolite repression (NCR), and others (Val, Trp, and Tyr) are transported by SPS-regulated low-affinity permeases. Therefore, the kinetic characteristics of transporters, as well as SPS and NCR, are likely key factors controlling the temporal sequence of consumption of nitrogen compounds and constitute a system highly conserved in S. cerevisiae species. This work sheds new light on the mechanistic basis of the sequential use of different nitrogen compounds in complex environments.
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