Slow heat rate increases yeast thermotolerance by maintaining plasma membrane integrity

Biotechnol Bioeng. 1999 Oct 20;65(2):176-81.


Thermal resistance of Saccharomyces cerevisiae was found to be drastically dependent on the kinetics of heat perturbation. Yeasts were found to be more resistant to a plateau of 1 h at 50 degrees C after a slope of temperature increase (slow and linear temperature increments) than after a shock (sudden temperature change). Thermotolerance was mainly acquired between 40-50 degrees C during a heat slope, i.e., above the maximal temperature of growth. The death of the yeasts subjected to a heat shock might be related to the loss of membrane integrity: intracellular contents extrusion, i.e., membrane permeabilization, was found to precede cell death. However, the permeabilization did not precede cell death during a heat slope and, therefore, membrane permeabilization was a consequence rather than a cause of cell death. During a slow temperature increase, yeasts which remain viable may have time to adapt their plasma membrane and thus maintain membrane integrity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cations / analysis
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane Permeability
  • Hot Temperature
  • Kinetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / ultrastructure


  • Cations