XYL3, which encodes a d-xylulokinase (EC 18.104.22.168), was isolated from Pichia stipitis CBS 6054 genomic DNA by using primers designed against conserved motifs. Disruption of XYL3 eliminated d-xylulokinase activity, but d-ribulokinase activity was still present. Southern analysis of P. stipitis genomic DNA with XYL3 as a probe confirmed the disruption and did not reveal additional related genes. Disruption of XYL3 stopped ethanol production from xylose, but the resulting mutant still assimilated xylose slowly and formed xylitol and arabinitol. These results indicate that XYL3 is critical for ethanol production from xylose but that P. stipitis has another pathway for xylose assimilation. Expression of XYL3 using its P. stipitis promoter increased Saccharomyces cerevisiae d-xylulose consumption threefold and enabled the transformants to produce ethanol from a mixture of xylose and xylulose, whereas the parental strain only accumulated xylitol. In vitro, d-xylulokinase activity in recombinant S. cerevisiae was sixfold higher with a multicopy than with a single-copy XYL3 plasmid, but ethanol production decreased with increased copy number. These results confirmed the function of XYL3 in S. cerevisiae.
Pichia stipitis xylose reductase (Ps-XR) has been used to design Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains that are able to ferment xylose. One example is the industrial S. cerevisiae xylose-consuming strain TMB3400, which was constructed by expression of P. stipitis xylose reductase and xylitol dehydrogenase and overexpression of endogenous xylulose kinase in the industrial S. cerevisiae strain USM21.
In this study, we demonstrate that strain TMB3400 not only converts xylose, but also displays higher tolerance to lignocellulosic hydrolysate during anaerobic batch fermentation as well as 3 times higher in vitro HMF and furfural reduction activity than the control strain USM21. Using laboratory strains producing various levels of Ps-XR, we confirm that Ps-XR is able to reduce HMF both in vitro and in vivo. Ps-XR overexpression increases the in vivo HMF conversion rate by approximately 20%, thereby improving yeast tolerance towards HMF. Further purification of Ps-XR shows that HMF is a substrate inhibitor of the enzyme.
We demonstrate for the first time that xylose reductase is also able to reduce the furaldehyde compounds that are present in undetoxified lignocellulosic hydrolysates. Possible implications of this newly characterized activity of Ps-XR on lignocellulosic hydrolysate fermentation are discussed.
Ethanol reassimilation in Pichia stipitis CBS 6054 was studied by using continuous cultures, and the oxidation of [1-13C]ethanol was monitored by in vivo and in vitro 13C nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Acetate was formed when ethanol was reassimilated. The ATP/ADP ratio and the carbon dioxide production decreased, whereas the malate dehydrogenase activity increased, in ethanol-reassimilating cells. The results are discussed in terms of the low ethanol tolerance in P. stipitis compared with that in Saccharomyces cerevisiae (S. W. Brown, S. G. Oliver, D. E. F. Harrison, and R. C. Righelato, Eur. J. Appl. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 11:151-155, 1981).
Saccharomyces cerevisiae was metabolically engineered for xylose utilization. The Pichia stipitis CBS 6054 genes XYL1 and XYL2 encoding xylose reductase and xylitol dehydrogenase were cloned into S. cerevisiae. The gene products catalyze the two initial steps in xylose utilization which S. cerevisiae lacks. In order to increase the flux through the pentose phosphate pathway, the S. cerevisiae TKL1 and TAL1 genes encoding transketolase and transaldolase were overexpressed. A XYL1- and XYL2-containing S. cerevisiae strain overexpressing TAL1 (S104-TAL) showed considerably enhanced growth on xylose compared with a strain containing only XYL1 and XYL2. Overexpression of only TKL1 did not influence growth. The results indicate that the transaldolase level in S. cerevisiae is insufficient for the efficient utilization of pentose phosphate pathway metabolites. Mixtures of xylose and glucose were simultaneously consumed with the recombinant strain S104-TAL. The rate of xylose consumption was higher in the presence of glucose. Xylose was used for growth and xylitol formation, but not for ethanol production. Decreased oxygenation resulted in impaired growth and increased xylitol formation. Fermentation with strain S103-TAL, having a xylose reductase/xylitol dehydrogenase ratio of 0.5:30 compared with 4.2:5.8 for S104-TAL, did not prevent xylitol formation.
This paper describes the first high-efficiency transformation system for the xylose-fermenting yeast Pichia stipitis. The system includes integrating and autonomously replicating plasmids based on the gene for orotidine-5'-phosphate decarboxylase (URA3) and an autonomous replicating sequence (ARS) element (ARS2) isolated from P. stipitis CBS 6054. Ura- auxotrophs were obtained by selecting for resistance to 5-fluoroorotic acid and were identified as ura3 mutants by transformation with P. stipitis URA3. P. stipitis URA3 was cloned by its homology to Saccharomyces cerevisiae URA3, with which it is 69% identical in the coding region. P. stipitis ARS elements were cloned functionally through plasmid rescue. These sequences confer autonomous replication when cloned into vectors bearing the P. stipitis URA3 gene. P. stipitis ARS2 has features similar to those of the consensus ARS of S. cerevisiae and other ARS elements. Circular plasmids bearing the P. stipitis URA3 gene with various amounts of flanking sequences produced 600 to 8,600 Ura+ transformants per micrograms of DNA by electroporation. Most transformants obtained with circular vectors arose without integration of vector sequences. One vector yielded 5,200 to 12,500 Ura+ transformants per micrograms of DNA after it was linearized at various restriction enzyme sites within the P. stipitis URA3 insert. Transformants arising from linearized vectors produced stable integrants, and integration events were site specific for the genomic ura3 in 20% of the transformants examined. Plasmids bearing the P. stipitis URA3 gene and ARS2 element produced more than 30,000 transformants per micrograms of plasmid DNA. Autonomously replicating plasmids were stable for at least 50 generations in selection medium and were present at an average of 10 copies per nucleus.
The effect of oxygen limitation on xylose fermentation by Pichia stipitis (CBS 6054) was investigated in continuous culture. The maximum specific ethanol productivity (0.20 g of ethanol g dry weight−1 h−1) and ethanol yield (0.48 g/g) was reached at an oxygen transfer rate below 1 mmol/liter per h. In the studied range of oxygenation, the xylose reductase (EC 22.214.171.124) and xylitol dehydrogenase (EC 126.96.36.199) activities were constant as well as the ratio between the NADPH and NADH activities of xylose reductase. No xylitol production was found. The pyruvate decarboxylase (EC 188.8.131.52) activity increased and the malate dehydrogenase (EC 184.108.40.206) activity decreased with decreasing oxygenation. With decreasing oxygenation, the intracellular intermediary metabolites sedoheptulose 7-phosphate, glucose 6-phosphate, fructose 1,6-diphosphate, and malate accumulated slightly while pyruvate decreased. The ratio of the xylose uptake rate under aerobic conditions, in contrast to that under anaerobic assay conditions, increased with increasing oxygenation in the culture. The results are discussed in relation to the energy level in the cell, the redox balance, and the mitochondrial function.
The various strains of Scheffersomyces stipitis (Pichia stipitis) differ substantially with respect to their ability to ferment xylose into ethanol. Two P. stipitis strains CBS 5773 and CBS 6054 have been most often used in literature but comparison of their performance in xylose fermentation under identical conditions has not been reported so far. Conversion of xylose (22 g/L) by each of these P. stipitis strain was analyzed under anaerobic and microaerobic conditions. Ethanol yields of ∼0.41 g/g were independent of strain and conditions used. Glycerol and acetate were formed in constant yields of 0.006 g/g and 0.02 g/g, respectively. Xylitol formation decreased from ∼0.08 g/g to ∼0.05 g/g upon switch from anaerobic to microaerobic conditions. Specific activities of enzymes of the two-step oxidoreductive xylose conversion pathway (xylose reductase and xylitol dehydrogenase) matched for both strains within limits of error. When xylose was offered at 76 g/L under microaerobic reaction conditions, ethanol yields were still high (0.37–0.39 g/g) for both strains even though the xylitol yields (0.12–0.13 g/g) were increased as compared to the conditions of low xylose concentration. P. stipitis strains CBS 5773 and CBS 6054 are therefore identical by the criteria selected and show useful performance during conversion of xylose into ethanol, irrespective of the supply of oxygen.
CBS 5773; CBS 6054; ethanol; Pichia stipitis; Scheffersomyces stipitis; xylose
Two heterologous pathways have been used to construct recombinant xylose-fermenting Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains: i) the xylose reductase (XR) and xylitol dehydrogenase (XDH) pathway and ii) the xylose isomerase (XI) pathway. In the present study, the Pichia stipitis XR-XDH pathway and the Piromyces XI pathway were compared in an isogenic strain background, using a laboratory host strain with genetic modifications known to improve xylose fermentation (overexpressed xylulokinase, overexpressed non-oxidative pentose phosphate pathway and deletion of the aldose reductase gene GRE3). The two isogenic strains and the industrial xylose-fermenting strain TMB 3400 were studied regarding their xylose fermentation capacity in defined mineral medium and in undetoxified lignocellulosic hydrolysate.
In defined mineral medium, the xylose consumption rate, the specific ethanol productivity, and the final ethanol concentration were significantly higher in the XR- and XDH-carrying strain, whereas the highest ethanol yield was achieved with the strain carrying XI. While the laboratory strains only fermented a minor fraction of glucose in the undetoxified lignocellulose hydrolysate, the industrial strain TMB 3400 fermented nearly all the sugar available. Xylitol was formed by the XR-XDH-carrying strains only in mineral medium, whereas in lignocellulose hydrolysate no xylitol formation was detected.
Despite by-product formation, the XR-XDH xylose utilization pathway resulted in faster ethanol production than using the best presently reported XI pathway in the strain background investigated. The need for robust industrial yeast strains for fermentation of undetoxified spruce hydrolysates was also confirmed.
As one of the best xylose utilization microorganisms, Scheffersomyces stipitis exhibits great potential for the efficient lignocellulosic biomass fermentation. Therefore, a comprehensive understanding of its unique physiological and metabolic characteristics is required to further improve its performance on cellulosic ethanol production.
A constraint-based genome-scale metabolic model for S. stipitis CBS 6054 was developed on the basis of its genomic, transcriptomic and literature information. The model iTL885 consists of 885 genes, 870 metabolites, and 1240 reactions. During the reconstruction process, 36 putative sugar transporters were reannotated and the metabolisms of 7 sugars were illuminated. Essentiality study was conducted to predict essential genes on different growth media. Key factors affecting cell growth and ethanol formation were investigated by the use of constraint-based analysis. Furthermore, the uptake systems and metabolic routes of xylose were elucidated, and the optimization strategies for the overproduction of ethanol were proposed from both genetic and environmental perspectives.
Systems biology modelling has proven to be a powerful tool for targeting metabolic changes. Thus, this systematic investigation of the metabolism of S. stipitis could be used as a starting point for future experiment designs aimed at identifying the metabolic bottlenecks of this important yeast.
Scheffersomyces stipitis; Genome-scale metabolic model; Constraint-based simulation; Xylose utilization; Ethanol production
The metabolism of glucose and xylose as a function of oxygenation in Pichia stipitis and Saccharomyces cerevisiae cell suspensions was studied by 31P and 13C nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. The rate of both glucose and xylose metabolism was slightly higher and the production of ethanol was slightly lower in aerobic than in anoxic cell suspensions of P. stipitis. As well, the cytoplasmic pH of oxygenated cells was more alkaline than that of nonoxygenated cells. In contrast, in S. cerevisiae, the intracellular pH and the rate of glucose metabolism and ethanol production were the same under aerobic and anoxic conditions. Agarose-immobilized Pichia stipitis was able to metabolize xylose or glucose for 24 to 60 h at rates and with theoretical yields of ethanol similar to those obtained with anoxic cell suspensions. Cell growth within the beads, however, was severely compromised. The intracellular pH [pH(int)] of the entrapped cells fell to more acidic pH values in the course of the perfusions relative to corresponding cell suspensions. Of importance was the observation that no enhancement in the rate of carbohydrate metabolism occurred in response to changes in the pH(int) value. In contrast to P. stipitis, agarose-immobilized Saccharomyces cerevisiae showed a dramatic twofold increase in its ability to metabolize glucose in the immobilized state relative to cell suspensions. This strain was also able to grow within the beads, although the doubling time for the entrapped cells was longer, by a factor of 2, than the value obtained for log-phase batch cultures. Initially, the pH(int) of the immobilized cells was more alkaline than was observed with the corresponding S. cerevisiae cell suspensions; however, over time, the intracellular pH became increasingly acidic. As with immobilized P. stipitis, however, the pH(int) did not play a key role in controlling the rate of glucose metabolism.
For ethanol production from lignocellulose, the fermentation of xylose is an economic necessity. Saccharomyces cerevisiae has been metabolically engineered with a xylose-utilizing pathway. However, the high ethanol yield and productivity seen with glucose have not yet been achieved. To quantitatively analyze metabolic fluxes in recombinant S. cerevisiae during metabolism of xylose-glucose mixtures, we constructed a stable xylose-utilizing recombinant strain, TMB 3001. The XYL1 and XYL2 genes from Pichia stipitis, encoding xylose reductase (XR) and xylitol dehydrogenase (XDH), respectively, and the endogenous XKS1 gene, encoding xylulokinase (XK), under control of the PGK1 promoter were integrated into the chromosomal HIS3 locus of S. cerevisiae CEN.PK 113-7A. The strain expressed XR, XDH, and XK activities of 0.4 to 0.5, 2.7 to 3.4, and 1.5 to 1.7 U/mg, respectively, and was stable for more than 40 generations in continuous fermentations. Anaerobic ethanol formation from xylose by recombinant S. cerevisiae was demonstrated for the first time. However, the strain grew on xylose only in the presence of oxygen. Ethanol yields of 0.45 to 0.50 mmol of C/mmol of C (0.35 to 0.38 g/g) and productivities of 9.7 to 13.2 mmol of C h−1 g (dry weight) of cells−1 (0.24 to 0.30 g h−1 g [dry weight] of cells−1) were obtained from xylose-glucose mixtures in anaerobic chemostat cultures, with a dilution rate of 0.06 h−1. The anaerobic ethanol yield on xylose was estimated at 0.27 mol of C/(mol of C of xylose) (0.21 g/g), assuming a constant ethanol yield on glucose. The xylose uptake rate increased with increasing xylose concentration in the feed, from 3.3 mmol of C h−1 g (dry weight) of cells−1 when the xylose-to-glucose ratio in the feed was 1:3 to 6.8 mmol of C h−1 g (dry weight) of cells−1 when the feed ratio was 3:1. With a feed content of 15 g of xylose/liter and 5 g of glucose/liter, the xylose flux was 2.2 times lower than the glucose flux, indicating that transport limits the xylose flux.
In Pichia stipitis, fermentative and pyruvate decarboxylase (PDC) activities increase with diminished oxygen rather than in response to fermentable sugars. To better characterize PDC expression and regulation, two genes for PDC (PsPDC1 and PsPDC2) were cloned and sequenced from P. stipitis CBS 6054. Aside from Saccharomyces cerevisiae, from which three PDC genes have been characterized, P. stipitis is the only organism from which multiple genes for PDC have been identified and characterized. PsPDC1 and PsPDC2 have diverged almost as far from one another as they have from the next most closely related known yeast gene. PsPDC1 contains an open reading frame of 1,791 nucleotides encoding 597 amino acids. PsPDC2 contains a reading frame of 1,710 nucleotides encoding 570 amino acids. An 81-nucleotide segment in the middle of the β domain of PsPDC1 codes for a unique segment of 27 amino acids, which may play a role in allosteric regulation. The 5′ regions of both P. stipitis genes include two putative TATA elements that make them similar to the PDC genes from S. cerevisiae, Kluyveromyces marxianus, and Hanseniaspora uvarum.
A decreased fermentation rate due to inhibition is a significant problem for economic conversion of acid-pretreated lignocellulose hydrolysates to ethanol, since the inhibition gives rise to a requirement for separate detoxification steps. Together with acetic acid, the sugar degradation products furfural and 5-hydroxymethyl furfural are the inhibiting compounds found at the highest concentrations in hydrolysates. These aldehydes have been shown to affect both the specific growth rate and the rate of fermentation by yeast. Two strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae with different abilities to ferment inhibiting hydrolysates were evaluated in fermentations of a dilute acid hydrolysate from spruce, and the reducing activities for furfural and 5-hydroxymethyl furfural were determined. Crude cell extracts of a hydrolysate-tolerant strain (TMB3000) converted both furfural and 5-hydroxymethyl furfural to the corresponding alcohol at a rate that was severalfold higher than the rate observed for cell extracts of a less tolerant strain (CBS 8066), thereby confirming that there is a correlation between the fermentation rate in a lignocellulosic hydrolysate and the bioconversion capacity of a strain. The in vitro NADH-dependent furfural reduction capacity of TMB3000 was three times higher than that of CBS 8066 (1,200 mU/mg protein and 370 mU/mg protein, respectively) in fed-batch experiments. Furthermore, the inhibitor-tolerant strain TMB3000 displayed a previously unknown NADH-dependent reducing activity for 5-hydroxymethyl furfural (400 mU/mg protein during fed-batch fermentation of hydrolysates). No corresponding activity was found in strain CBS 8066 (<2 mU/mg). The ability to reduce 5-hydroxymethyl furfural is an important characteristic for the development of yeast strains with increased tolerance to lignocellulosic hydrolysates.
Lignocellulosic biomass conversion inhibitors, furfural and HMF, inhibit microbial growth and interfere with subsequent fermentation of ethanol, posing significant challenges for a sustainable cellulosic ethanol conversion industry. Numerous yeast genes were found to be associated with the inhibitor tolerance. However, limited knowledge is available about mechanisms of the tolerance and the detoxification of the biomass conversion inhibitors. Using a robust standard for absolute mRNA quantification assay and a recently developed tolerant ethanologenic yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae NRRL Y-50049, we investigate pathway-based transcription profiles relevant to the yeast tolerance and the inhibitor detoxification. Under the synergistic inhibitory challenges by furfural and HMF, Y-50049 was able to withstand the inhibitor stress, in situ detoxify furfural and HMF, and produce ethanol, while its parental control Y-12632 failed to function till 65 h after incubation. The tolerant strain Y-50049 displayed enriched genetic background with significantly higher abundant of transcripts for at least 16 genes than a non-tolerant parental strain Y-12632. The enhanced expression of ZWF1 appeared to drive glucose metabolism in favor of pentose phosphate pathway over glycolysis at earlier steps of glucose metabolisms. Cofactor NAD(P)H generation steps were likely accelerated by enzymes encoded by ZWF1, GND1, GND2, TDH1, and ALD4. NAD(P)H-dependent aldehyde reductions including conversion of furfural and HMF, in return, provided sufficient NAD(P)+ for NAD(P)H regeneration in the yeast detoxification pathways. Enriched genetic background and a well maintained redox balance through reprogrammed expression responses of Y-50049 were accountable for the acquired tolerance and detoxification of furfural to furan methanol and HMF to furan dimethanol. We present significant gene interactions and regulatory networks involved in NAD(P)H regenerations and functional aldehyde reductions under the inhibitor stress.
Gene expression; Lignocellulosic ethanol; Pathway analysis; qRT-PCR standard; Stress tolerance
Two genes coding for isozymes of alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH); designated PsADH1 and PsADH2, have been identified and isolated from Pichia stipitis CBS 6054 genomic DNA by Southern hybridization to Saccharomyces cerevisiae ADH genes, and their physiological roles have been characterized through disruption. The amino acid sequences of the PsADH1 and PsADH2 isozymes are 80.5% identical to one another and are 71.9 and 74.7% identical to the S. cerevisiae ADH1 protein. They also show a high level identity with the group I ADH proteins from Kluyveromyces lactis. The PsADH isozymes are presumably localized in the cytoplasm, as they do not possess the amino-terminal extension of mitochondrion-targeted ADHs. Gene disruption studies suggest that PsADH1 plays a major role in xylose fermentation because PsADH1 disruption results in a lower growth rate and profoundly greater accumulation of xylitol. Disruption of PsADH2 does not significantly affect ethanol production or aerobic growth on ethanol as long as PsADH1 is present. The PsADH1 and PsADH2 isozymes appear to be equivalent in the ability to convert ethanol to acetaldehyde, and either is sufficient to allow cell growth on ethanol. However, disruption of both genes blocks growth on ethanol. P. stipitis strains disrupted in either PsADH1 or PsADH2 still accumulate ethanol, although in different amounts, when grown on xylose under oxygen-limited conditions. The PsADH double disruptant, which is unable to grow on ethanol, still produces ethanol from xylose at about 13% of the rate seen in the parental strain. Thus, deletion of both PsADH1 and PsADH2 blocks ethanol respiration but not production, implying a separate path for fermentation.
Hydrolysates of plant biomass used for the production of lignocellulosic biofuels typically contain sugar mixtures consisting mainly of D-glucose and D-xylose, and minor amounts of L-arabinose. The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is the preferred microorganism for the fermentative production of ethanol but is not able to ferment pentose sugars. Although D-xylose and L-arabinose fermenting S. cerevisiae strains have been constructed recently, pentose uptake is still a limiting step in mixed sugar fermentations.
Here we described the cloning and characterization of two sugar transporters, AraT from the yeast Scheffersomyces stipitis and Stp2 from the plant Arabidopsis thaliana, which mediate the uptake of L-arabinose but not of D-glucose into S. cerevisiae cells. A yeast strain lacking all of its endogenous hexose transporter genes and expressing a bacterial L-arabinose utilization pathway could no longer take up and grow with L-arabinose as the only carbon source. Expression of the heterologous transporters supported uptake and utilization of L-arabinose especially at low L-arabinose concentrations but did not, or only very weakly, support D-glucose uptake and utilization. In contrast, the S. cerevisiae D-galactose transporter, Gal2, mediated uptake of both L-arabinose and D-glucose, especially at high concentrations.
Using a newly developed screening system we have identified two heterologous sugar transporters from a yeast and a plant which can support uptake and utilization of L-arabinose in L-arabinose fermenting S. cerevisiae cells, especially at low L-arabinose concentrations.
Baker's yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) has been engineered for xylose utilization to enable production of fuel ethanol from lignocellulose raw material. One unresolved challenge is that S. cerevisiae lacks a dedicated transport system for pentose sugars, which means that xylose is transported by non-specific Hxt transporters with comparatively low transport rate and affinity for xylose.
In this study, we compared three heterologous xylose transporters that have recently been shown to improve xylose uptake under different experimental conditions. The transporters Gxf1, Sut1 and At5g59250 from Candida intermedia, Pichia stipitis and Arabidopsis thaliana, respectively, were expressed in isogenic strains of S. cerevisiae and the transport kinetics and utilization of xylose was evaluated. Expression of the Gxf1 and Sut1 transporters led to significantly increased affinity and transport rates of xylose. In batch cultivation at 4 g/L xylose concentration, improved transport kinetics led to a corresponding increase in xylose utilization, whereas no correlation could be demonstrated at xylose concentrations greater than 15 g/L. The relative contribution of native sugar transporters to the overall xylose transport capacity was also estimated during growth on glucose and xylose.
Kinetic characterization and aerobic batch cultivation of strains expressing the Gxf1, Sut1 and At5g59250 transporters showed a direct relationship between transport kinetics and xylose growth. The Gxf1 transporter had the highest transport capacity and the highest xylose growth rate, followed by the Sut1 transporter. The range in which transport controlled the growth rate was determined to between 0 and 15 g/L xylose. The role of catabolite repression in regulation of native transporters was also confirmed by the observation that xylose transport by native S. cerevisiae transporters increased significantly during cultivation in xylose and at low glucose concentration.
The induction of xylose reductase and xylitol dehydrogenase activities on mixed sugars was investigated in the yeasts Pachysolen tannophilus and Pichia stipitis. Enzyme activities induced on d-xylose served as the controls. In both yeasts, d-glucose, d-mannose, and 2-deoxyglucose inhibited enzyme induction by d-xylose to various degrees. Cellobiose, l-arabinose, and d-galactose were not inhibitory. In liquid batch culture, P. tannophilus utilized d-glucose and d-mannose rapidly and preferentially over d-xylose, while d-galactose consumption was poor and lagged behind that of the pentose sugar. In P. stipitis, all three hexoses were used preferentially over d-xylose. The results showed that the repressibility of xylose reductase and xylitol dehydrogenase may limit the potential of yeast fermentation of pentose sugars in hydrolysates of lignocellulosic substrates.
Cost-effective fermentation of lignocellulosic hydrolysate to ethanol by Saccharomyces cerevisiae requires efficient mixed sugar utilization. Notably, the rate and yield of xylose and arabinose co-fermentation to ethanol must be enhanced.
Evolutionary engineering was used to improve the simultaneous conversion of xylose and arabinose to ethanol in a recombinant industrial Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain carrying the heterologous genes for xylose and arabinose utilization pathways integrated in the genome. The evolved strain TMB3130 displayed an increased consumption rate of xylose and arabinose under aerobic and anaerobic conditions. Improved anaerobic ethanol production was achieved at the expense of xylitol and glycerol but arabinose was almost stoichiometrically converted to arabitol. Further characterization of the strain indicated that the selection pressure during prolonged continuous culture in xylose and arabinose medium resulted in the improved transport of xylose and arabinose as well as increased levels of the enzymes from the introduced fungal xylose pathway. No mutation was found in any of the genes from the pentose converting pathways.
To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report that characterizes the molecular mechanisms for improved mixed-pentose utilization obtained by evolutionary engineering of a recombinant S. cerevisiae strain. Increased transport of pentoses and increased activities of xylose converting enzymes contributed to the improved phenotype.
We studied the expression of the genes encoding group I alcohol dehydrogenases (PsADH1 and PsADH2) in the xylose-fermenting yeast Pichia stipitis CBS 6054. The cells expressed PsADH1 approximately 10 times higher under oxygen-limited conditions than under fully aerobic conditions when cultivated on xylose. Transcripts of PsADH2 were not detectable under either aeration condition. We used a PsADH1::lacZ fusion to monitor PsADH1 expression and found that expression increased as oxygen decreased. The level of PsADH1 transcript was repressed about 10-fold in cells grown in the presence of heme under oxygen-limited conditions. Concomitantly with the induction of PsADH1, PsCYC1 expression was repressed. These results indicate that oxygen availability regulates PsADH1 expression and that regulation may be mediated by heme. The regulation of PsADH2 expression was also examined in other genetic backgrounds. Disruption of PsADH1 dramatically increased PsADH2 expression on nonfermentable carbon sources under fully aerobic conditions, indicating that the expression of PsADH2 is subject to feedback regulation under these conditions.
Xylose utilization is of commercial interest for efficient conversion of abundant plant material to ethanol. Perhaps the most important ethanol-producing organism, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, however, is incapable of xylose utilization. While S. cerevisiae strains have been metabolically engineered to utilize xylose, none of the recombinant strains or any other naturally occurring yeast has been able to grow anaerobically on xylose. Starting with the recombinant S. cerevisiae strain TMB3001 that overexpresses the xylose utilization pathway from Pichia stipitis, in this study we developed a selection procedure for the evolution of strains that are capable of anaerobic growth on xylose alone. Selection was successful only when organisms were first selected for efficient aerobic growth on xylose alone and then slowly adapted to microaerobic conditions and finally anaerobic conditions, which indicated that multiple mutations were necessary. After a total of 460 generations or 266 days of selection, the culture reproduced stably under anaerobic conditions on xylose and consisted primarily of two subpopulations with distinct phenotypes. Clones in the larger subpopulation grew anaerobically on xylose and utilized both xylose and glucose simultaneously in batch culture, but they exhibited impaired growth on glucose. Surprisingly, clones in the smaller subpopulation were incapable of anaerobic growth on xylose. However, as a consequence of their improved xylose catabolism, these clones produced up to 19% more ethanol than the parental TMB3001 strain produced under process-like conditions from a mixture of glucose and xylose.
Xylose reductase (XR) and xylitol dehydrogenase (XDH) from Pichia stipitis are the two enzymes most commonly used in recombinant Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains engineered for xylose utilization. The availability of NAD+ for XDH is limited during anaerobic xylose fermentation because of the preference of XR for NADPH. This in turn results in xylitol formation and reduced ethanol yield. The coenzyme preference of P. stipitis XR was changed by site-directed mutagenesis with the aim to engineer it towards NADH-preference.
XR variants were evaluated in S. cerevisiae strains with the following genetic modifications: overexpressed native P. stipitis XDH, overexpressed xylulokinase, overexpressed non-oxidative pentose phosphate pathway and deleted GRE3 gene encoding an NADPH dependent aldose reductase. All overexpressed genes were chromosomally integrated to ensure stable expression. Crude extracts of four different strains overexpressing genes encoding native P. stipitis XR, K270M and K270R mutants, as well as Candida parapsilosis XR, were enzymatically characterized. The physiological effects of the mutations were investigated in anaerobic xylose fermentation. The strain overexpressing P. stipitis XR with the K270R mutation gave an ethanol yield of 0.39 g (g consumed sugars)-1, a xylitol yield of 0.05 g (g consumed xylose)-1 and a xylose consumption rate of 0.28 g (g biomass)-1 h-1 in continuous fermentation at a dilution rate of 0.12 h-1, with 10 g l-1 glucose and 10 g l-1 xylose as carbon sources.
The cofactor preference of P. stipitis XR was altered by site-directed mutagenesis. When the K270R XR was combined with a metabolic engineering strategy that ensures high xylose utilization capabilities, a recombinant S. cerevisiae strain was created that provides a unique combination of high xylose consumption rate, high ethanol yield and low xylitol yield during ethanolic xylose fermentation.
The kinetics of xylose uptake were investigated in the efficient xylose fermenter Pichia stipitis and in the more readily genetically manipulated, strictly respiratory yeast Pichia heedii. Both yeasts demonstrated more than one xylose uptake system, differing in substrate affinity. The Km of high-affinity xylose uptake in both organisms was similar to that of the efficient high-affinity glucose uptake system of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In P. heedii, low-affinity xylose uptake was enhanced with growth on 2% but not 0.05% xylose and high-affinity uptake was reduced. In contrast to glucose uptake, xylose uptake in P. heedii was inhibited by dinitrophenol. Dinitrophenol inhibited both glucose and xylose uptake by P. stipitis. Glucose uptake was not inhibited by a 100-fold molar excess of xylose in P. heedii. It is suggested that xylose uptake in P. heedii is via a carrier system(s) distinct from those for glucose uptake.
Scheffersomyces (formerly Pichia) stipitis NRRL Y-7124 was mutagenized using UV-C irradiation to produce yeast strains for anaerobic conversion of lignocellulosic sugars to ethanol. UV-C irradiation potentially produces large numbers of random mutations broadly and uniformly over the whole genome to generate unique strains. Wild-type cultures of S. stipitis NRRL Y-7124 were subjected to UV-C (234 nm) irradiation targeted at approximately 40% cell survival. When surviving cells were selected in sufficient numbers via automated plating strategies and cultured anaerobically on xylose medium for 5 months at 28°C, five novel mutagenized S. stipitis strains were obtained. Variable number tandem repeat analysis revealed that mutations had occurred in the genome, which may have produced genes that allowed the anaerobic utilization of xylose. The mutagenized strains were capable of growing anaerobically on xylose/glucose substrate with higher ethanol production during 250- to 500-h growth than a Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast strain that is the standard for industrial fuel ethanol production. The S. stipitis strains resulting from this intense multigene mutagenesis strategy have potential application in industrial fuel ethanol production from lignocellulosic hydrolysates.
Pichia stipitis [Scheffersomyces stipitis]; Cellulosic fuel ethanol; Anaerobic xylose fermentation; Yeast UV mutagenesis
Xylose is the second most abundant carbohydrate in the lignocellulosic biomass hydrolysate. The fermentation of xylose is essential for the bioconversion of lignocelluloses to fuels and chemicals. However the wild-type strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae are unable to utilize xylose. Many efforts have been made to construct recombinant yeast strains to enhance xylose fermentation over the past few decades. Xylose fermentation remains challenging due to the complexity of lignocellulosic biomass hydrolysate. In this study, a modified genome shuffling method was developed to improve xylose fermentation by S. cerevisiae. Recombinant yeast strains were constructed by recursive DNA shuffling with the recombination of entire genome of P. stipitis with that of S. cerevisiae.
After two rounds of genome shuffling and screening, one potential recombinant yeast strain ScF2 was obtained. It was able to utilize high concentration of xylose (100 g/L to 250 g/L xylose) and produced ethanol. The recombinant yeast ScF2 produced ethanol more rapidly than the naturally occurring xylose-fermenting yeast, P. stipitis, with improved ethanol titre and much more enhanced xylose tolerance.
The modified genome shuffling method developed in this study was more effective and easier to operate than the traditional protoplast-fusion-based method. Recombinant yeast strain ScF2 obtained in this study was a promising candidate for industrial cellulosic ethanol production. In order to further enhance its xylose fermentation performance, ScF2 needs to be additionally improved by metabolic engineering and directed evolution.
S. cerevisiae; P. stipitis; Yeast; Genome shuffling; Xylose; Cellulosic ethanol