Polyols, or polyhydroxy alcohols, are produced by many fungi. Saccharomyces cerevisiae produces large amounts of glycerol, and several fungi that cause serious human infections produce D-arabinitol and mannitol. Glycerol functions as an intracellular osmolyte in S. cerevisiae, but the functions of D-arabinitol and mannitol in pathogenic fungi are not yet known. To investigate the functions of mannitol, we constructed a new mannitol biosynthetic pathway in S. cerevisiae. S. cerevisiae transformed with multicopy plasmids encoding the mannitol-1-phosphate dehydrogenase of Escherichia coli produced mannitol, whereas S. cerevisiae transformed with control plasmids did not. Although mannitol production had no obvious phenotypic effects in wild-type S. cerevisiae, it restored the ability of a glycerol-defective, osmosensitive osg1-1 mutant to grow in the presence of high NaCl concentrations. Moreover, osg1-1 mutants producing mannitol were more resistant to killing by oxidants produced by a cell-free H2O2-FeSO4- NaI system than were controls. These results indicate that mannitol can (i) function as an intracellular osmolyte in S. cerevisiae, (ii) substitute fur glycerol as the principal intracellular osmolyte in S. cerevisiae, and (iii) protect S. cerevisiae from oxidative damage by scavenging toxic oxygen intermediates.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology