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Various forms of stress can cause an attenuation of bulk translation activity and the accumulation of nontranslating mRNAs into cytoplasmic messenger RNP (mRNP) granules termed processing bodies (P-bodies) and stress granules (SGs) in eukaryotic cells. Furfural and 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), derived from lignocellulosic biomass, inhibit yeast growth and fermentation as stressors. Since there is no report regarding their effects on the formation of cytoplasmic mRNP granules, here we investigated whether furfural and HMF cause the assembly of yeast P-bodies and SGs accompanied by translational repression. We found that furfural and HMF cause the attenuation of bulk translation activity and the assembly of cytoplasmic mRNP granules in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Notably, a combination of furfural and HMF induced the remarkable repression of translation initiation and SG formation. These findings provide new information about the physiological effects of furfural and HMF on yeast cells, and also suggest the potential usefulness of cytoplasmic mRNP granules as a warning sign or index of the deterioration of cellular physiological status in the fermentation of lignocellulosic hydrolysates.


Aya Iwaki, Takao Kawai, Yosuke Yamamoto, Shingo Izawa. Biomass conversion inhibitors furfural and 5-hydroxymethylfurfural induce formation of messenger RNP granules and attenuate translation activity in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Applied and environmental microbiology. 2013 Mar;79(5):1661-7

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PMID: 23275506

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