The sequence diversity and expression among genes of the folic acid biosynthesis pathway in industrial Saccharomyces strains
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Folic acid is an important vitamin in human nutrition and its deficiency in pregnant women's diets results in neural tube defects and other neurological damage to the fetus. Additionally, DNA synthesis, cell division and intestinal absorption are inhibited in case of adults. Since this discovery, governments and health organizations worldwide have made recommendations concerning folic acid supplementation of food for women planning to become pregnant. In many countries this has led to the introduction of fortifications, where synthetic folic acid is added to flour. It is known that Saccharomyces strains (brewing and bakers' yeast) are one of the main producers of folic acid and they can be used as a natural source of this vitamin. Proper selection of the most efficient strains may enhance the folate content in bread, fermented vegetables, dairy products and beer by 100% and may be used in the food industry. The objective of this study was to select the optimal producing yeast strain by determining the differences in nucleotide sequences in the FOL2, FOL3 and DFR1 genes of folic acid biosynthesis pathway. The Multitemperature Single Strand Conformation Polymorphism (MSSCP) method and further nucleotide sequencing for selected strains were applied to indicate SNPs in selected gene fragments. The RT qPCR technique was also applied to examine relative expression of the FOL3 gene. Furthermore, this is the first time ever that industrial yeast strains were analysed regarding genes of the folic acid biosynthesis pathway. It was observed that a correlation exists between the folic acid amount produced by industrial yeast strains and changes in the nucleotide sequence of adequate genes. The most significant changes occur in the DFR1 gene, mostly in the first part, which causes major protein structure modifications in KKP 232, KKP 222 and KKP 277 strains. Our study shows that the large amount of SNP contributes to impairment of the selected enzymes and S. cerevisiae and S. pastorianus produce reduced amounts of the investigated metabolite. The results obtained here yield a list of genetically stable yeast strains which can be implemented as a starter culture in the food industry.
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