Aeration mitigates endoplasmic reticulum stress in Saccharomyces cerevisiae even without mitochondrial respiration

Microb Cell. 2021 Mar 31;8(4):77-86. doi: 10.15698/mic2021.04.746.


Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a facultative anaerobic organism that grows well under both aerobic and hypoxic conditions in media containing abundant fermentable nutrients such as glucose. In order to deeply understand the physiological dependence of S. cerevisiae on aeration, we checked endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-stress status by monitoring the splicing of HAC1 mRNA, which is promoted by the ER stress-sensor protein, Ire1. HAC1-mRNA splicing that was caused by conventional ER-stressing agents, including low concentrations of dithiothreitol (DTT), was more potent in hypoxic cultures than in aerated cultures. Moreover, growth retardation was observed by adding low-dose DTT into hypoxic cultures of ire1Δ cells. Unexpectedly, aeration mitigated ER stress and DTT-induced impairment of ER oxidative protein folding even when mitochondrial respiration was halted by the ρo mutation. An ER-located protein Ero1 is known to directly consume molecular oxygen to initiate the ER protein oxidation cascade, which promotes oxidative protein folding of ER client proteins. Our further study using ero1-mutant strains suggested that, in addition to mitochondrial respiration, this Ero1-medaited reaction contributes to mitigation of ER stress by molecular oxygen. Taken together, here we demonstrate a scenario in which aeration acts beneficially on S. cerevisiae cells even under fermentative conditions.

Keywords: endoplasmic reticulum; mitochondria; respiration; stress; unfolded protein response; yeast.

Grants and funding

This work was supported by grants to Y.K. from the Ohsumi Frontier Science Foundation and the Noda Institute for Scientific Research.