Summary: Ethanol is the first reported compound which can induce germ tube formation in without the addition of any nitrogen-containing nutrients. Conditions controlling induction of germ tubes in by ethanol were investigated. Ethanol (17.1 mM) in buffered salts solution containing sodium bicarbonate induced 70 to 80% of yeast phase cells of to form germ tubes. Germ tubes could be induced by ethanol (0.08 to 340 mM) at temperatures ranging from 29 to 41 °C (optimum 37 °C) and at pH values ranging from 3.0 to 8.0 (optimum 5.75). The germ tubes averaged 11 μm in length after 6 h at 37 °C. The percentage of cells forming germ tubes decreased as the concentration of cells in the induction solution was increased above 4 x 10 cells ml. Germ tubes first appeared 45 to 60 min after continuous exposure to ethanol at 37 °C and all cells which formed germ tubes did so by 2 h. Germ tube length decreased as the pH was increased but was independent of the concentration of ethanol. Oxygen was required for germ tube formation. In addition to ethanol, 1-propanol, 2-propanol, 1-butanol and acetic acid could induce germ tube formation, whereas methanol could not. These results indicate that the cells must mobilize their endogenous nitrogen and probably carbohydrate reserves in order to initiate formation of germ tubes. The evidence is inconclusive as to whether ethanol itself must be metabolized for germ tube induction to occur, although it is not thought to act by a nonspecific interaction with the cell membrane.


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