This work reports the role of both superoxide dismutases - CuZnSOD (encoded by ) and MnSOD (encoded by ) - in the build-up of tolerance to ethanol during growth of from exponential to post-diauxic phase. Both enzyme activities increase from the exponential phase to the diauxic shift and from the diauxic shift to the post-diauxic phase. The levels of mRNA- and mRNA- increase from the exponential phase to the diauxic shift; however, during the post-diauxic phase mRNA- levels decrease while mRNA- levels remain unchanged. These data indicate the existence of two regulatory mechanisms involved in the induction of SOD activity during growth: synthesis of the proteins (until the diauxic shift), and post-transcriptional or post-translational regulation (during the post-diauxic phase). Ethanol does not alter the activities of either enzyme in cells from the diauxic shift or post-diauxic phases, although the respective mRNA levels decrease in post-diauxic-phase cells treated with ethanol (14% or 20%). Results of experiments with and mutants show that MnSOD, but not CuZnSOD, is essential for ethanol tolerance of diauxic-shift and post-diauxic-phase cells. Evidence that ethanol toxicity is correlated with the production of reactive oxygen species in the mitochondria is obtained from results with respiration-deficient mutants. In these cells, the induction of superoxide dismutase activity by ethanol is low; also, the respiratory deficiency restores the capacity of cells to acquire ethanol tolerance.


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