Thermotolerance in Saccharomyces cerevisiae: the Yin and Yang of trehalose

Trends Biotechnol. 1998 Nov;16(11):460-8. doi: 10.1016/s0167-7799(98)01251-7.


Trehalose, a sugar produced by a wide variety of organisms, has long been known for its role in protecting certain organisms from desiccation. Recent work in yeast indicates that trehalose also promotes survival under conditions of extreme heat, by enabling proteins to retain their native conformation at elevated temperatures and suppressing the aggregation of denatured proteins. The latter property, however, seems to impair the recovery of cells from heat shock if they fail to degrade trehalose after the stress has passed. These multiple effects of trehalose on protein stability and folding suggest a host of promising applications.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Coleoptera
  • Fungal Proteins / genetics
  • Fungal Proteins / metabolism*
  • Glucosyltransferases / genetics
  • Glucosyltransferases / metabolism
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / genetics
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism
  • Heat-Shock Response / physiology*
  • Hot Temperature
  • Models, Biological
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / physiology*
  • Trehalose / metabolism*
  • Trehalose / physiology


  • Fungal Proteins
  • Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Trehalose
  • Glucosyltransferases
  • trehalose-6-phosphate synthase