#FEMSmicroBlog: Yeast physiology and the legacy of Lex Scheffers


The “Lex Scheffers Memorial Issue on Yeast Physiology” in FEMS Yeast Research celebrates the memory and legacy of W. Alexander (Lex) Scheffers (1925-2021), the founding editor-in-chief of the journal. A personal account of his time in Delft (published in 2015) recollects protagonists and milestones in understanding yeast physiology. The Memorial Issue also presents eight research articles and two reviews, all published within the past few years. Discover all the articles in this #FEMSmicroBlog entry. #FascinatingMicrobes


About the Thematic Issue

Alexander (Lex) Scheffers was the founding editor in chief of FEMS Yeast Research and a very significant contributor to the yeast community. At TU Delft, Lex Scheffers played an important part in preserving and continuing the legacy of Albert Jan Kluyver, famous for many contributions to yeast physiology and biology. Lex Scheffers’ work on Brettanomyces, the Custers effect, and the role NAD+/NADH cofactor balances in the regulation of sugar catabolism in yeasts were seminal. Later he contributed to the work on yeast alcoholic fermentation that underpinned the development of the bioethanol industry.

The inclusion of articles on the physiology of yeasts from diverse genera (Saccharomyces, Brettanomyces, Hanseniaspora, Lachancea, and Ogataea) reflects both Lex Scheffers’ broad interest and the current direction of the field. Without a doubt, the genetic diversity observed in yeasts is matched by diversity in metabolism and physiology. The study of different yeasts is crucial to understand biology and to develop these yeasts for applications to benefit society.


Discover the articles

Alexander Scheffers (2015), In Delft: a personal account. FEMS Yeast Research 15(5)

In this perspective, the author looks back on his development in microbiology and yeast research, and on the establishment in Delft of the FEMS Central Office, FEMS Publications Office and the birth of the journal FEMS Yeast Research in 2001.


Cristian Varela & Anthony R Borneman (2022), Molecular approaches improving our understanding of Brettanomyces physiology. FEMS Yeast Research 22(1)

This review discusses recent molecular biology tools including genomics, transcriptomics, and genetic engineering techniques that can improve understanding of the physiology of Brettanomyces, a yeast genus with strong ties to industry, either as spoilage in wine production or as contributor for kombucha fermentation.


Tingting Xie et al. (2022), Multi-omics analyses of the transition to the Crabtree effect in S. cerevisiae reveals a key role for the citric acid shuttle. FEMS Yeast Research 22(1)

This research article investigates the Crabtree effect under dynamic processes which have never been reported, and finds the citric acid shuttles to support higher demand of α-ketoglutarate under Crabtree effect.


Juliana P Galhardo et al. (2023), Wide distribution of D-xylose dehydrogenase in yeasts reveals a new element in the D-xylose metabolism for bioethanol production. FEMS Yeast Research 23

This research article presents the previously neglected yeast enzyme, D-xylose dehydrogenase (XylDH), which is proposed to be an important factor for yeast metabolism and for improving second-generation ethanol production.

Figures taken from the papers in the Memorial Issue


Lin-Rui Tan et al. (2022), Genome-wide transcriptional regulation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae in response to carbon dioxide. FEMS Yeast Research 22(1)

This research article investigates metabolism of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae under carbon dioxide limitation. Carbon dioxide could be an external stimulus for modulating metabolic activities in yeast and a transcriptional effector for diverse applications.


Muneyoshi Kanai et al. (2023), Importance and mechanisms of S-adenosylmethionine and folate accumulation in sake yeast. FEMS Yeast Research 23

This mini-review presents an analysis of the molecular mechanism of S-adenosylmethionine and folate accumulated in Kyokai-type sake yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae sake yeast strain, Kyokai no. 6, 7, 9, 10), used for sake making.


Yvonne Methner et al. (2022), Investigations into metabolic properties and selected nutritional metabolic byproducts of different non-Saccharomyces yeast strains when producing nonalcoholic beer. FEMS Yeast Research 22(1)

This research article investigates the properties of nonalcoholic beers produced using up to 16 non-Saccharomyces yeast species including Saccharomycodes ludwigii, Cyberlindnera saturnus, and Kluyveromyces marxianus. All strains did not synthesize significant amounts of biogenic amines and seven yeast strains were viable at 37 °C in synthetic gastric juice milieu. Four nonalcoholic beers contained nutritionally relevant concentrations of B vitamins.


Wijbrand J C Dekker et al. (2022), Respiratory reoxidation of NADH is a key contributor to high oxygen requirements of oxygen-limited cultures of Ogataea parapolymorpha. FEMS Yeast Research 22(1)

This research article shows that large oxygen requirements of the industrially relevant yeast Ogataea parapolymorpha in oxygen-limited cultures are attributed to a necessity to reoxidize surplus NADH from biosynthetic reactions by mitochondrial respiration (‘Custers effect’).


Francisco Carrau et al. (2023), Biology and physiology of Hanseniaspora vineae: metabolic diversity and increase flavour complexity for food fermentation. FEMS Yeast Research 23

This mini-review presents characteristics of Hanseniaspora vineae, belonging to a yeast genus prevalent in grapes and other fruit and with significant potential for beneficial applications in food fermentation.


Isabel Seixas et al. (2023), Insights into the transcriptional regulation of poorly characterized alcohol acetyltransferase-encoding genes (HgAATs) shed light into the production of acetate esters in the wine yeast Hanseniaspora guilliermondii. FEMS Yeast Research 23

This research article investigates production of acetate esters, associated with fruity and floral aromas, by the wine yeast Hanseniaspora guilliermondi with a focus on the four poorly characterized alcohol acetyltransferase-encoding genes (HgAATs).


Liliana Guadalupe Vigueras-Meneses et al. (2022), Two alpha isopropylmalate synthase isozymes with similar kinetic properties are extant in the yeast Lachancea kluyveri. FEMS Yeast Research 22(1)

This research article shows that functional diversification of the duplicated genes LkLEU4 and LkLEU4BIS, involved in leucine synthesis, from Lachancea kluyveri resulted in different transcriptional regulation and predicted subcellular localization, but similar kinetic properties.

Figures taken from the papers in the Memorial Issue


About this blog section

The section #FascinatingMicrobes for the #FEMSmicroBlog explains the science behind a paper and highlights the significance and broader context of a recent finding. One of the main goals is to share the fascinating spectrum of microbes across all fields of microbiology.

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