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Home • Metschnikowia koreensis Y137 v1.0
Scanning electron micrograph of asci of Metschnikowia koreensis
Scanning electron micrograph of asci of Metschnikowia koreensis (bar = 10 μm). Image credit: Soon Gyu Hong

Approximately 85% of the world's flowering plants, including bio-energy crops, rely on pollinators for reproduction. Declining pollinator numbers present a threat to biodiversity and crop production, but only recently have researchers begun to explore the role played by nectar-inhabiting microbes in maintaining plant-pollinator mutualism. Some nectar specialist yeast of the genus Metschnikowia have been shown to change the strength of plant-pollinator interactions, affecting pollination success, presumably by changing the chemical properties of nectar.

Metschnikowia koreensis Y137 was sequenced as part of a project that aims to understand the genomic basis of the ecological success of nectar yeasts in their carbon-stressed and nitrogen-limited environments. These yeast species span a continuum from nectar specialists to nectar opportunists, including: Candida rancensis, Metschnikowia gruessii, Metschnikowia koreensis, Starmerella bombicola, Hanseniaspora valbyensis, Candida bombi, and Candida floricola.

M. reukaufii is a sucrose specialist with an expansion of amino acid transporters. In contrast, preliminary data suggest that M. gruessii and M. koreensis may be better adapted to nitrogen limitation under extreme osmotic stress. C. rancensis is a generalist with a metabolic repertoire extending to several different sugars and sugar alcohols, expressing a strategy complimentary to that of M. reukaufii. This group is also of additional evolutionary interest as it likely belongs to the alternative codon usage CTG clade, where the CUG codon encodes the amino acid serine instead of leucine.