Ustilago maydis is a fungal pathogen which is exposed during its life cycle to both abiotic and biotic stresses before and after the infection of maize. To cope with extreme environmental changes, microorganisms usually accumulate the disaccharide trehalose. We have investigated both the accumulation of trehalose and the activity of trehalase during the adaptation of U. maydis haploid cells to thermal, sorbitol, and NaCl stresses. Sorbitol and sodium chloride induced sustained accumulation of trehalose, while a transient increase was observed under heat stress. Sorbitol stressed cells showed higher trehalase activity compared with control cells and to those stressed by NaCl and high temperature. Addition of cycloheximide, a protein synthesis inhibitor, did not affect the trehalose accumulation during the first 15 min, but basal levels of trehalose were reached after the second period of 15 min. The proteomic analysis of the response of U. maydis to temperature, sorbitol, and salt stresses indicated a complex pattern which highlights the change of 18 proteins involved in carbohydrate and amino acid metabolism, protein folding, redox regulation, ion homeostasis, and stress response. We hypothesize that trehalose accumulation during sorbitol stress in U. maydis might be related to the adaptation of this organism during plant infection. © Springer-Verlag 2011.