Evidence for loss and reacquisition of alcoholic fermentation in a fructophilic yeast lineage

Carla Gonçalves, Jennifer H. Wisecaver, Jacek Kominek, Madalena Salema Oom, Maria José Leandro, Xing Xing Shen, Dana A. Opulente, Xiaofan Zhou, David Peris, Cletus P. Kurtzman, Chris Todd Hittinger, Antonis Rokas, Paula Gonçalves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Fructophily is a rare trait that consists of the preference for fructose over other carbon sources. Here, we show that in a yeast lineage (the Wickerhamiella/Starmerella, W/S clade) comprised of fructophilic species thriving in the high-sugar floral niche, the acquisition of fructophily is concurrent with a wider remodeling of central carbon metabolism. Coupling comparative genomics with biochemical and genetic approaches, we gathered ample evidence for the loss of alcoholic fermentation in an ancestor of the W/S clade and subsequent reinstatement through either horizontal acquisition of homologous bacterial genes or modification of a preexisting yeast gene. An enzyme required for sucrose assimilation was also acquired from bacteria, suggesting that the genetic novelties identified in the W/S clade may be related to adaptation to the high-sugar environment. This work shows how even central carbon metabolism can be remodeled by a surge of HGT events.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere33034
Publication statusPublished - 12 Apr 2018


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