Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains used for winemaking show a wide range of fermentation phenotypes, and the genetic background of individual strains contributes significantly to the organoleptic properties of wine. This strain-dependent impact extends to the organic acid composition of the wine, an important quality parameter. However, little is known about the genes which may impact on organic acids during grape must fermentation. To generate novel insights into the genetic regulation of this metabolic network, a subset of genes was identified based on a comparative analysis of the transcriptomes and organic acid profiles of different yeast strains showing different production levels of organic acids. These genes showed significant inter-strain differences in their transcription levels at one or more stages of fermentation and were also considered likely to influence organic acid metabolism based on existing functional annotations. Genes selected in this manner were ADH3, AAD6, SER33, ICL1, GLY1, SFC1, SER1, KGD1, AGX1, OSM1 and GPD2. Yeast strains carrying deletions for these genes were used to conduct fermentations and determine organic acid levels at various stages of alcoholic fermentation in synthetic grape must. The impact of these deletions on organic acid profiles was quantified, leading to novel insights and hypothesis generation regarding the role/s of these genes in wine yeast acid metabolism under fermentative conditions. Overall, the data contribute to our understanding of the roles of selected genes in yeast metabolism in general and of organic acid metabolism in particular.
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