Glycerol 3-phosphate dehydrogenase, a key enzyme in the production of glycerol, is encoded by GPD1 and GPD2. The isoforms encoded by these genes have different functions, in osmoregulation and redox balance, respectively. We investigated the roles of GPD1, GPD2 and HOG1-the kinase involved in the response to osmotic stress-in glycerol production during wine fermentation. We found that the deletion of GPD2 in a wine yeast-derived strain did not affect growth or fermentation performance and reduced glycerol production by only 20%. In contrast, a gpd1delta mutant displayed a prolonged lag phase, and produced 40% less glycerol than the wild-type strain. The deletion of HOG1 resulted in a slight decrease in growth rate and a 20% decrease in glycerol production, indicating that the HOG pathway operates under wine fermentation conditions. However, the hog1delta mutant was not as severely affected as the gpd1delta mutant during the first few hours of fermentation, and continued to express GPD1 strongly. The hog1delta mutant was able to increase glycerol production in response to high sugar concentration (15-28% glucose), to almost the same extent as the wild-type, whereas this response was totally abolished in the gpd1delta mutant. These data show that Gpd1p plays a major role in glycerol formation, particularly during the first few hours of exposure to high sugar concentration, and that GPD2 is only of little significance in anaerobic fermentation by wine yeast. The results also demonstrate that the HOG pathway exerts only limited control over GPD1 expression and glycerol production during wine fermentation.
Copyright 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.