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An improved method for protoplast formation and its application in the fusion of Rhodotorula rubra with Saccharomyces cerevisiae

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Protoplasts from various strains of red-pigmented yeasts were generated at high frequency using improved procedures. The use of sulphur-containing amino acids and 2-deoxyglucose in growth media led to impaired cell wall synthesis and rendered cells very susceptible to treatment with mercapto-ethanol and various lytic enzymes. Use of individual lytic enzymes separately resulted in relatively low frequencies of protoplasts from most of the red yeasts examined, whilst use of β-glucoronidase, Novozyme and Zymolyase in series markedly increased stable protoplast formation. The latter effects were shown to be strain specific. The ability to generate large numbers of red yeast protoplasts prompted the attempt to examine intergeneric fusion between auxotrophs of a strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Rhodotorula rubra. Putative hybrids were selected as variously-pigmented prototrophic colonies growing on minimal medium and stabilised by subculturing on the latter medium. Unusual cream, orange and yellow hybrid colonies were generated, composed of cells of varying morphologies (chains, multibudded). The majority of stable hybrids contained one nucleus, although several heterokaryons were also observed. Some hybrids possessed the phenotypes of both parents: fusant wcat41 grew as rapidly as the S. cerevisiae parent but also contained an inducible phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL) which appeared to be more active than that of the Rhodotorula parent.

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Correspondence to C. T. Evans.

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Evans, C.T., Conrad, D. An improved method for protoplast formation and its application in the fusion of Rhodotorula rubra with Saccharomyces cerevisiae . Arch. Microbiol. 148, 77–82 (1987).

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Key words

  • Protoplast formation
  • Zymolase
  • Novozyme
  • β-Glucuromidase
  • Intergeneric fusion