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Beatriz Vallejo defends her doctoral thesis on metabolic regulation in wine yeasts

  • January 31st, 2020
Emilia Matallana, Agustín Aranda and Beatriz Vallejo
Emilia Matallana, Agustín Aranda and Beatriz Vallejo

The thesis, directed by Agustín Aranda and Emilia Matallana, tries to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of adaptation of industrial wine strains to available nutrients. Part of the results have been published in FEMS Yeast Research and Scientific Reports. The thesis was defended on January 31st, 2020.

Living beings have complex systems for integrating information on environmental conditions, especially the availability of nutrients. In model systems, such as the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, these signal transmission pathways have been studied in depth under laboratory conditions. However, very little is known about these processes under industrial conditions. The central objective of the thesis, entitled 'Analysis of nutrient signalling pathways in Saccharomyces cerevisiae wine strains under winemaking conditions', has been to understand how yeasts respond to adverse conditions of nutrient availability in the must. The wine strains show different biochemical response patterns than in the laboratory and strategies such as targeted evolution or specific mutation of signalling pathway components have been used in this research to understand these differential behaviours. In this sense, molecular targets for the improvement of industrial wine strains have been identified. The results obtained also show that there is no strict division between carbon and nitrogen nutrient signaling in winemaking, but rather a regulated cross-talk between all the signaling pathways that allows the cell metabolism to adapt to environmental conditions.

Beatriz Vallejo's doctoral thesis, initiated in the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology (IATA, CSIC) has been completed in the Industrial Yeast Biotechnology group at I2SysBio under the supervision of Agustín Aranda (Senior Scientist at CSIC) and Emilia Matallana (Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Valencia). In addition, Beatriz Vallejo spent three months at the Oenology Unit of the Institute of Vine and Wine Sciences of the University of Bordeaux. Throughout her doctoral research she was employed by the University Teacher Training Programme (FPU) of the Ministry of Education. The panel was composed by of Ramón González (Institute of Vine and Wine Sciences, CSIC, La Rioja), Mª Ángeles de la Torre (Institute of Biomedical Research, University of Lleida) and José Manuel Guillamón (IATA, CSIC, Valencia), who rated the thesis as outstanding.

 

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