Relationship between ethanol tolerance, lipid composition and plasma membrane fluidity in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Kloeckera apiculata

FEMS Microbiol Lett. 1994 Nov 15;124(1):17-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6968.1994.tb07255.x.


The lipid composition of a strain of each of two yeasts, Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Kloeckera apiculata, with different ethanol tolerances, was determined for cells grown with or without added ethanol. An increase in the proportion of ergosterol, unsaturated fatty acid levels and the maintenance of phospholipid biosynthesis seemed to be responsible for ethanol tolerance. The association of ethanol tolerance of yeast cells with plasma membrane fluidity, measured by fluorescence anisotropy, is discussed. We propose that an increase in plasma membrane fluidity may be correlated with a decrease in the sterol:phospholipid and sterol:protein ratios and an increase in unsaturation index.

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / analysis
  • Drug Tolerance
  • Ethanol / pharmacology*
  • Fluorescence Polarization
  • Lipids / analysis*
  • Membrane Fluidity / drug effects*
  • Mitosporic Fungi / drug effects*
  • Mitosporic Fungi / growth & development
  • Mitosporic Fungi / metabolism
  • Phospholipids / analysis
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / drug effects*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / growth & development
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism
  • Spheroplasts / metabolism
  • Sterols / analysis


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Lipids
  • Phospholipids
  • Sterols
  • Ethanol