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Yeast responses to stress

A common thread that weaves throughout any discussion of brewing yeast physiology are the numerous stresses to which cells are subjected in the brewing process and the resultant cellular responses. Several of these are alluded to in earlier sections of this chapter. Several external stresses elicit common responses as evidenced by the observation that exposure to a non-lethal stress of one type provides a measure of resistance to others. By implication, common pathways are activated and these are triggered in response to one or more separate receptors. Genomic profiling studies have shown that approximately 900 genes respond to signals generated by the application of environmental stresses (Gasch et al., 2000). Activation of the stress response is mediated in part by the Ras cyclicAMP signalling pathway (Park et al., 2005). Both long-term transcriptional effects and shortterm post-translational modifications occur by which the phenotype is adjusted to deal with the applied stress. Of key importance is the presence in the promoter region of a short DNA motif, termed STRE, to which transcription factors bind. The STRE element is found in the promoter region of more than 200 genes known to be implicated in the general stress response of yeast. This subject is not discussed further here since it is dealt with elsewhere in this book (see Chapter 2).

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