This paper reviews our current knowledge of yeast alcohol acyltransferases. Much of this information has been gathered over the past 10 years through the application of powerful yeast molecular biology techniques. Evidence from gene disruption and expression analysis of members of the alcohol acyltransferase (ATF) gene family indicates that different ester synthases are involved in the synthesis of esters during alcoholic fermentation. The natural physiological rationale behind these enzyme activities remains unclear. However, it is believed that these enzymes may be involved in very different functions, including cellular fatty acid homeostasis and detoxification mechanisms. Insights into the regulation of yeast ester synthesis by oxygen and unsaturated fatty acids have contributed to our understanding of the general mechanisms of gene regulation. In particular, control mechanisms that underpin the oxygen-mediated regulation of ATF1 gene transcription appear to be closely linked to those involved in the regulation of fatty acid metabolism. Data pertaining to the regulation of ATF1 gene transcription have been integrated into a working model for future research.
Copyright 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.