The dimorphic fungus Yarrowia lipolytica grows to form hyphae either in rich media or in media with GlcNAc as a carbon source. A visual screening, called FIL (filamentation minus), for Y. lipolytica yeast growth mutants has been developed. The FIL screen was used to identify three Y. lipolytica genes that abolish hypha formation in all media assayed. Y. lipolytica HOY1, a gene whose deletion prevents the yeast-hypha transition both in liquid and solid media, was characterized. HOY1 is predicted to encode a 509-amino-acid protein with a homeodomain homologous to that found in the chicken Hox4.8 gene. Analysis of the protein predicts a nuclear location. These observations suggest that Hoy1p may function as a transcriptional regulatory protein. In disrupted strains, reintroduction of HOY1 restored the capacity for hypha formation. Northern blot hybridization revealed the HOY1 transcript to be approximately 1.6 kb. Expression of this gene was detected when Y. lipolytica grew as a budding yeast, but an increase in its expression was observed by 1 h after cells had been induced to form hyphae. The possible functions of HOY1 in hyphal growth and the uses of the FIL screen to identify morphogenetic regulatory genes from heterologous organisms are discussed.
Rhamnolipids, naturally occurring biosurfactants constructed of rhamnose sugar molecules and β-hydroxyalkanoic acids, have a wide range of potential commercial applications. In the course of a survey of 33 different bacterial isolates, we have identified, using a phenotypic assay for rhamnolipid production, a strain of the nonpathogenic bacterial species Pseudomonas chlororaphis that is capable of producing rhamnolipids. Rhamnolipid production by P. chlororaphis was achieved by growth at room temperature in static cultures of a mineral salts medium containing 2% glucose. We obtained yields of roughly 1 g/liter of rhamnolipids, an amount comparable to the production levels reported in Pseudomonas aeruginosa grown with glucose as the carbon source. The rhamnolipids produced by P. chlororaphis appear to be exclusively the mono-rhamnolipid form. The most prevalent molecular species had one monounsaturated hydroxy fatty acid of 12 carbons and one saturated hydroxy fatty acid of 10 carbons. P. chlororaphis, a nonpathogenic saprophyte of the soil, is currently employed as a biocontrol agent against certain types of plant fungal diseases. The pathogenic nature of all bacteria previously known to produce rhamnolipids has been a major obstacle to commercial production of rhamnolipids. The use of P. chlororaphis therefore greatly simplifies this matter by removing the need for containment systems and stringent separation processes in the production of rhamnolipids.
A microbial surfactant (biosurfactant) was investigated for its potential to enhance bioavailability and, hence, the biodegradation of octadecane. The rhamnolipid biosurfactant used in this study was extracted from culture supernatants after growth of Pseudomonas aeruginosa ATCC 9027 in phosphate-limited proteose peptone-glucose-ammonium salts medium. Dispersion of octadecane in aqueous solutions was dramatically enhanced by 300 mg of the rhamnolipid biosurfactant per liter, increasing by a factor of more than 4 orders of magnitude, from 0.009 to > 250 mg/liter. The relative enhancement of octadecane dispersion was much greater at low rhamnolipid concentrations than at high concentrations. Rhamnolipid-enhanced octadecane dispersion was found to be dependent on pH and shaking speed. Biodegradation experiments done with an initial octadecane concentration of 1,500 mg/liter showed that 20% of the octadecane was mineralized in 84 h in the presence of 300 mg of rhamnolipid per liter, compared with only 5% octadecane mineralization when no surfactant was present. These results indicate that rhamnolipids may have potential for facilitating the bioremediation of sites contaminated with hydrocarbons having limited water solubility.
Iron is an essential element for life but also serves as an environmental signal for biofilm development in the opportunistic human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Under iron-limiting conditions, P. aeruginosa displays enhanced twitching motility and forms flat unstructured biofilms. In this study, we present evidence suggesting that iron-regulated production of the biosurfactant rhamnolipid is important to facilitate the formation of flat unstructured biofilms. We show that under iron limitation the timing of rhamnolipid expression is shifted to the initial stages of biofilm formation (versus later in biofilm development under iron-replete conditions) and results in increased bacterial surface motility. In support of this observation, an rhlAB mutant defective in biosurfactant production showed less surface motility under iron-restricted conditions and developed structured biofilms similar to those developed by the wild type under iron-replete conditions. These results highlight the importance of biosurfactant production in determining the mature structure of P. aeruginosa biofilms under iron-limiting conditions.
The objective of this research was to evaluate the effect of low concentrations of a rhamnolipid biosurfactant on the in situ biodegradation of hydrocarbon entrapped in a porous matrix. Experiments were performed with sand-packed columns under saturated flow conditions with hexadecane as a model hydrocarbon. Application of biosurfactant concentrations greater than the CMC (the concentration at which the surfactant molecules spontaneously form micelles or vesicles [0.03 mM]) resulted primarily in the mobilization of hexadecane entrapped within the sand matrix. In contrast, application of biosurfactant concentrations less than the CMC enhanced the in situ mineralization of entrapped hexadecane; however, this effect was dependent on the choice of bacterial isolate. The two Pseudomonas isolates tested, R4 and ATCC 15524, were used because they exhibit different patterns of biodegradation of hexadecane, and they also differed in their physical response to rhamnolipid addition. ATCC 15524 cells formed extensive multicell aggregates in the presence of rhamnolipid while R4 cells were unaffected. This behavior did not affect the ability of the biosurfactant to enhance the biodegradation of hexadecane in well-mixed soil slurry systems but had a large affect on the extent of entrapped hexadecane biodegradation in the sand-packed-column system that was used in this study.
Due to their non-toxic nature, biodegradability and production from renewable resources, research has shown an increasing interest in the use of biosurfactants in a wide variety of applications. This paper reviews the characterization of rhamnolipid and sophorolipid biosurfactants based on their hydrophilicity/hydrophobicity and their ability to form microemulsions with a range of oils without additives. The use of the biosurfactants in applications such as detergency and vegetable oil extraction for biodiesel application is also discussed. Rhamnolipid was found to be a hydrophilic surfactant while sophorolipid was found to be very hydrophobic. Therefore, rhamnolipid and sophorolipid biosurfactants in mixtures showed robust performance in these applications.
rhamnolipid biosurfactant; sophorolipid biosurfactant; characterization; microemulsions; application
Polysorbate 80 (PS80) is a nonionic surfactant and detergent that inhibits biofilm formation by Pseudomonas aeruginosa at concentrations as low as 0.001% and is well tolerated in human tissues. However, certain clinical and laboratory strains (PAO1) of P. aeruginosa are able to form biofilms in the presence of PS80. To better understand this resistance, we performed transposon mutagenesis with a PS80-resistant clinical isolate, PA738. This revealed that mutation of algC rendered PA738 sensitive to PS80 biofilm inhibition. AlgC contributes to the biosynthesis of the exopolysaccharides Psl and alginate, as well as lipopolysaccharide and rhamnolipid. Analysis of mutations downstream of AlgC in these biosynthetic pathways established that disruption of the psl operon was sufficient to render the PA738 and PAO1 strains sensitive to PS80-mediated biofilm inhibition. Increased levels of Psl production in the presence of arabinose in a strain with an arabinose-inducible psl promoter were correlated with increased biofilm formation in PS80. In P. aeruginosa strains MJK8 and ZK2870, known to produce both Pel and Psl, disruption of genes in the psl but not the pel operon conferred susceptibility to PS80-mediated biofilm inhibition. The laboratory strain PA14 does not produce Psl and does not form biofilms in PS80. However, when PA14 was transformed with a cosmid containing the psl operon, it formed biofilms in the presence of PS80. Taken together, these data suggest that production of the exopolysaccharide Psl by P. aeruginosa promotes resistance to the biofilm inhibitor PS80.
We have cloned and characterized the gene PYC1, encoding the unique pyruvate carboxylase in the dimorphic yeast Yarrowia lipolytica. The protein putatively encoded by the cDNA has a length of 1,192 amino acids and shows around 70% identity with pyruvate carboxylases from other organisms. The corresponding genomic DNA possesses an intron of 269 bp located 133 bp downstream of the starting ATG. In the branch motif of the intron, the sequence CCCTAAC, not previously found at this place in spliceosomal introns of Y. lipolytica, was uncovered. Disruption of the PYC1 gene from Y. lipolytica did not abolish growth in glucose-ammonium medium, as is the case in other eukaryotic microorganisms. This unusual growth phenotype was due to an incomplete glucose repression of the function of the glyoxylate cycle, as shown by the lack of growth in that medium of double pyc1 icl1 mutants lacking both pyruvate carboxylase and isocitrate lyase activity. These mutants grew when glutamate, aspartate, or Casamino Acids were added to the glucose-ammonium medium. The cDNA from the Y. lipolytica PYC1 gene complemented the growth defect of a Saccharomyces cerevisiae pyc1 pyc2 mutant, but introduction of either the S. cerevisiae PYC1 or PYC2 gene into Y. lipolytica did not result in detectable pyruvate carboxylase activity or in growth on glucose-ammonium of a Y. lipolytica pyc1 icl1 double mutant.
The dimorphic yeast Yarrowia lipolytica is used as a model to study fungal differentiation because it grows as yeast-like cells or forms hyphal cells in response to changes in environmental conditions. Here, we report the isolation and characterization of a gene, ZNC1, involved in the dimorphic transition in Y. lipolytica. The ZNC1 gene encodes a 782 amino acid protein that contains a Zn(II)2C6 fungal-type zinc finger DNA-binding domain and a leucine zipper domain. ZNC1 transcription is elevated during yeast growth and decreases during the formation of mycelium. Cells in which ZNC1 has been deleted show increased hyphal cell formation. Znc1p-GFP localizes to the nucleus, but mutations within the leucine zipper domain of Znc1p, and to a lesser extent within the Zn(II)2C6 domain, result in a mislocalization of Znc1p to the cytoplasm. Microarrays comparing gene expression between znc1::URA3 and wild-type cells during both exponential growth and the induction of the yeast-to-hypha transition revealed 1,214 genes whose expression was changed by 2-fold or more under at least one of the conditions analyzed. Our results suggest that Znc1p acts as a transcription factor repressing hyphal cell formation and functions as part of a complex network regulating mycelial growth in Y. lipolytica.
In order to improve biosurfactant production by Yarrowia lipolytica IMUFRJ 50682, a factorial design was carried out. A 24 full factorial design was used to investigate the effects of nitrogen sources (urea, ammonium sulfate, yeast extract, and peptone) on maximum variation of surface tension (ΔST) and emulsification index (EI). The best results (67.7% of EI and 20.9 mN m−1 of ΔST) were obtained in a medium composed of 10 g 1−1 of ammonium sulfate and 0.5 g 1−1 of yeast extract. Then, the effects of carbon sources (glycerol, hexadecane, olive oil, and glucose) were evaluated. The most favorable medium for biosurfactant production was composed of both glucose (4% w/v) and glycerol (2% w/v), which provided an EI of 81.3% and a ΔST of 19.5 mN m−1. The experimental design optimization enhanced ΔEI by 110.7% and ΔST by 108.1% in relation to the standard process.
The ability to switch between a unicellular yeast form and different filamentous forms (fungal dimorphism) is an important attribute of most pathogenic fungi. Dimorphism involves a series of events that ultimately result in dramatic changes in the polarity of cell growth in response to environmental factors. We have isolated and characterized YlBEM1, a gene encoding a protein of 639 amino acids that is essential for the yeast-to-hypha transition in the yeast Yarrowia lipolytica and whose transcription is significantly increased during this event. Cells with deletions of YlBEM1 are viable but show substantial alterations in morphology, disorganization of the actin cytoskeleton, delocalization of cortical actin and chitin deposition, multinucleation, and loss of mating ability, thus pointing to a major role for YlBEM1 in the regulation of cell polarity and morphogenesis in this fungus. This role is further supported by the localization of YlBem1p, which, like cortical actin, appears to be particularly abundant at sites of growth of yeast, hyphal, and pseudohyphal cells. In addition, the potential involvement of YlBem1p in septum formation and/or cytokinesis is suggested by the concentration of a green fluorescent protein-tagged version of this protein at the mother-bud neck during the last stages of cell division. Interestingly, overexpression of MHY1, YlRAC1, or YlSEC31, three genes involved in filamentous growth of Y. lipolytica, induced hyphal growth of bem1 null mutant cells.
Mannosylphosphorylation of N- and O-glycans, which confers negative charges on the surfaces of cells, requires the functions of both MNN4 and MNN6 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. To identify genes relevant to mannosylphosphorylation in the dimorphic yeast Yarrowia lipolytica, the molecular functions of five Y. lipolytica genes showing significant sequence homology with S. cerevisiae MNN4 and MNN6 were investigated. A set of mutant strains in which Y. lipolytica MNN4 and MNN6 homologues were deleted underwent glycan structure analysis. In contrast to S. cerevisiae MNN4 (ScMNN4), the Y. lipolytica MNN4 homologue, MPO1 (YlMPO1), encodes a protein that lacks the long KKKKEEEE repeat domain at its C terminus. Moreover, just a single disruption of YlMPO1 resulted in complete disappearance of the acidic sugar moiety in both the N- and O-linked glycan profiles. In contrast, even quadruple disruption of all ScMNN6 homologues, designated YlKTR1, YlKTR2, YlKTR3, and YlKTR4, resulted in no apparent reduction in acidic sugar moieties. These findings strongly indicate that YlMpo1p performs a significant role in mannosylphosphorylation in Y. lipolytica with no involvement of the Mnn6p homologues. Mutant strains harboring the YlMPO1 gene disruption may serve as useful platforms for engineering Y. lipolytica glycosylation pathways for humanized glycans without any yeast-specific acidic modifications.
In this study, the effect of a purified rhamnolipid biosurfactant on the hydrophobicity of octadecane-degrading cells was investigated to determine whether differences in rates of octadecane biodegradation resulting from the addition of rhamnolipid to four strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa could be related to measured differences in hydrophobicity. Cell hydrophobicity was determined by a modified bacterial adherence to hydrocarbon (BATH) assay. Bacterial adherence to hydrocarbon quantitates the preference of cell surfaces for the aqueous phase or the aqueous-hexadecane interface in a two-phase system of water and hexadecane. On the basis of octadecane biodegradation in the absence of rhamnolipid, the four bacterial strains were divided into two groups: the fast degraders (ATCC 15442 and ATCC 27853), which had high cell hydrophobicities (74 and 55% adherence to hexadecane, respectively), and the slow degraders (ATCC 9027 and NRRL 3198), which had low cell hydrophobicities (27 and 40%, respectively). Although in all cases rhamnolipid increased the aqueous dispersion of octadecane at least 10(4)-fold, at low rhamnolipid concentrations (0.6 mM), biodegradation by all four strains was initially inhibited for at least 100 h relative to controls. At high rhamnolipid concentrations (6 mM), biodegradation by the fast degraders was slightly inhibited relative to controls, but the biodegradation by the slow degraders was enhanced relative to controls. Measurement of cell hydrophobicity showed that rhamnolipids increased the cell hydrophobicity of the slow degraders but had no effect on the cell hydrophobicity of the fast degraders. The rate at which the cells became hydrophobic was found to depend on the rhamnolipid concentration and was directly related to the rate of octadecane biodegradation.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
In this research, the micellar behavior of a cationic surfactant, cetyl trimethyl ammonium bromide (CTAB) and an nonionic surfactant, polysorbate 20 (Polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan monolaurate) in different alcohol solutions media was investigated over the temperature range 293.15–313.15 K. The interaction between two surfactants in binary systems can be determined by calculating the values of their β parameters. The critical micelle concentrations (CMC) of the micelles were determined from the surface tension, the conductivity at different temperatures. The CMC behavior of CTAB and polysorbate 20 was analyzed in terms of the effect of temperature and the increase in the alcohol carbon chain. Changes in the critical micelle concentration of mixed surfactant systems of different alcohol solutions were measured. The CMC decreased sharply as the hydrocarbon chain length of the alcohols becomes larger. This shows that the more hydrophobic alcohols are, the more marked a decrease in CMC is observed.
Surface tension; Conductivity; Critical micelle concentration; Nonionic surfactants
Sorption of carbon tetrachloride (CT) by zero-valent iron (ZVI) is the rate-limiting step in the degradation of CT, so the sorption capacity of ZVI is of great importance. This experiment was aimed at enhancing the sorption of CT by ZVI and the degradation rate of CT by modification of surfactants. This study showed that ZVI modified by cationic surfactants has favorable synergistic effect on the degradation of CT. The CT degradation rate of ZVI modified by cetyl pyridinium bromide (CPB) was higher than that of the unmodified ZVI by 130%, and the CT degradation rate of ZVI modified by cetyl trimethyl ammonium bromide (CTAB) was higher than that of the unmodified ZVI by 81%. This study also showed that the best degradation effect is obtained at the near critical micelle concentrations (CMC) and that high loaded cationic surfactant does not have good synergistic effect on the degradation due to its hydrophilicity and the block in surface reduction sites. Furthermore degradation of CT by ZVI modified by nonionic surfactant has not positive effect on the degradation as the ionic surfactant and the ZVI modified by anionic surfactant has hardly any obvious effects on the degradation.
Enhanced degradation; Sorption; Surfactants; Synergistic effect; Zero-valent iron (ZVI)
Classic methods of biosurfactant separation are difficult and require large amounts of organic solvents, thus generate high amounts of waste. This work presents and discusses in detail an original procedure to separate rhamnolipid from fermentation broth using high performance membrane techniques. Due to the unique properties of surface active agents, such as capability of forming aggregates above the critical micelle concentration, it is possible to easily purify the biosurfactant with high efficacy using inexpensive and commonly used membranes. In this article, two-stage ultrafiltration is proposed as a method for separating and purifying rhamnolipid from the culture medium. The obtained purified rhamnolipid solution was capable of reducing surface tension of water down to 28.6 mN/m at critical micelle concentration of 40 mg/l. Separation of rhamnolipid was confirmed by HPLC; three types of rhamnolipids were identified (RL1, RL2, RL4), with considerable predominance of RL2.
Rhamnolipid; Biosurfactant; Separation; Purification; Downstream processing; Ultrafiltration; Membrane
Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms can develop mushroom-like structures with stalks and caps consisting of discrete subpopulations of cells. Self-produced rhamnolipid surfactants have been shown to be important in development of the mushroom-like structures. The quorum-sensing-controlled rhlAB operon is required for rhamnolipid synthesis. We have introduced an rhlA-gfp fusion into a neutral site in the P. aeruginosa genome to study rhlAB promoter activity in rhamnolipid-producing biofilms. Expression of the rhlA-gfp fusion in biofilms requires the quorum-sensing signal butanoyl-homoserine lactone, but other factors are also required for expression. Early in biofilm development rhlA-gfp expression is low, even in the presence of added butanoyl-homoserine lactone. Expression of the fusion becomes apparent after microcolonies with a depth of >20 μm have formed and, as shown by differential labeling with rfp or fluorescent dyes, rhlA-gfp is preferentially expressed in the stalks rather than the caps of mature mushrooms. The rhlA-gfp expression pattern is not greatly influenced by addition of butanoyl-homoserine lactone to the biofilm growth medium. We propose that rhamnolipid synthesis occurs in biofilms after stalks have formed but prior to capping in the mushroom-like structures. The differential expression of rhlAB may play a role in the development of normal biofilm architecture.
Many microorganisms, especially bacteria, produce biosurfactants when grown on water-immiscible substrates. Biosurfactants are more effective, selective, environmentally friendly, and stable than many synthetic surfactants. Most common biosurfactants are glycolipids in which carbohydrates are attached to a long-chain aliphatic acid, while others, like lipopeptides, lipoproteins, and heteropolysaccharides, are more complex. Rapid and reliable methods for screening and selection of biosurfactant-producing microorganisms and evaluation of their activity have been developed. Genes involved in rhamnolipid synthesis (rhlAB) and regulation (rhlI and rhlR) in Pseudomonas aeruginosa are characterized, and expression of rhlAB in heterologous hosts is discussed. Genes for surfactin production (sfp, srfA, and comA) in Bacillus spp. are also characterized. Fermentative production of biosurfactants depends primarily on the microbial strain, source of carbon and nitrogen, pH, temperature, and concentration of oxygen and metal ions. Addition of water-immiscible substrates to media and nitrogen and iron limitations in the media result in an overproduction of some biosurfactants. Other important advances are the use of water-soluble substrates and agroindustrial wastes for production, development of continuous recovery processes, and production through biotransformation. Commercialization of biosurfactants in the cosmetic, food, health care, pulp- and paper-processing, coal, ceramic, and metal industries has been proposed. However, the most promising applications are cleaning of oil-contaminated tankers, oil spill management, transportation of heavy crude oil, enhanced oil recovery, recovery of crude oil from sludge, and bioremediation of sites contaminated with hydrocarbons, heavy metals, and other pollutants. Perspectives for future research and applications are also discussed.
The potential biodegradation of crude oil was assessed based on the development of a fermentative process with a strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa which produced 15.4 g/L rhamnolipids when cultured in a basal mineral medium using glycerol as a sole carbon source. However, neither cell growth nor rhamnolipid production was observed in the comparative culture system using crude oil as the sole carbon source instead. As rhamnolipid, an effective biosurfactant, has been reported to stimulate the biodegradation of hydrocarbons, 1 g/L glycerol or 0.22 g/L rhamnolipid was initially added into the medium to facilitate the biodegradation of crude oil. In both situations, more than 58% of crude oil was degraded and further converted into accumulated cell biomass and rhamnolipids. These results suggest that Pseudomonas aeruginosa could degrade most of crude oil with direct or indirect addition of rhamnolipid. And this conclusion was further supported by another adsorption experiment, where the adsorption capacity of crude oil by killed cell biomass was negligible in comparison with the biologic activities of live cell biomass.
Rhamnolipid; Crude oil; Biodegradation; Pseudomonas aeruginosa
A model cocontaminated system was developed to determine whether a metal-complexing biosurfactant, rhamnolipid, could reduce metal toxicity to allow enhanced organic biodegradation by a Burkholderia sp. isolated from soil. Rhamnolipid eliminated cadmium toxicity when added at a 10-fold greater concentration than cadmium (890 μM), reduced toxicity when added at an equimolar concentration (89 μM), and had no effect at a 10-fold smaller concentration (8.9 μM). The mechanism by which rhamnolipid reduces metal toxicity may involve a combination of rhamnolipid complexation of cadmium and rhamnolipid interaction with the cell surface to alter cadmium uptake.
In response to certain environmental signals, bacteria will differentiate from an independent free-living mode of growth and take up an interdependent surface-attached existence. These surface-attached microbial communities are known as biofilms. In flowing systems where nutrients are available, biofilms can develop into elaborate three-dimensional structures. The development of biofilm architecture, particularly the spatial arrangement of colonies within the matrix and the open areas surrounding the colonies, is thought to be fundamental to the function of these complex communities. Here we report a new role for rhamnolipid surfactants produced by the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa in the maintenance of biofilm architecture. Biofilms produced by mutants deficient in rhamnolipid synthesis do not maintain the noncolonized channels surrounding macrocolonies. We provide evidence that surfactants may be able to maintain open channels by affecting cell-cell interactions and the attachment of bacterial cells to surfaces. The induced synthesis of rhamnolipids during the later stages of biofilm development (when cell density is high) implies an active mechanism whereby the bacteria exploit intercellular interaction and communication to actively maintain these channels. We propose that the maintenance of biofilm architecture represents a previously unrecognized step in the development of these microbial communities.
The ability of the opportunistic pathogen, Staphylococcus aureus, to form biofilms is increasingly being viewed as an important contributor to chronic infections. In vitro methods for analyzing S. aureus biofilm formation have focused on bacterial attachment and accumulation on abiotic surfaces, such as in microtiter plate and flow cell assays. Microtiter plates provide a rapid measure of relative biomass levels, while flow cells have limited experimental throughput but are superior for confocal microscopy biofilm visualization. Although these assays have proven effective at identifying mechanisms involved in cell attachment and biofilm accumulation, the significance of these assays in vivo remains unclear. Studies have shown that when medical devices are implanted they are coated with host factors, such as matrix proteins, that facilitate S. aureus attachment and biofilm formation. To address the challenge of integrating existing biofilm assay features with a biotic surface, we have established an in vitro biofilm technique utilizing UV-sterilized coverslips coated with human plasma. The substratum more closely resembles the in vivo state and provides a platform for S. aureus to establish a robust biofilm. Importantly, these coverslips are amenable to confocal microscopy imaging to provide a visual reference of the biofilm growth stage, effectively merging the benefits of the microtiter and flow cell assays. We confirmed the approach using clinical S. aureus isolates and mutants with known biofilm phenotypes. Altogether, this new biofilm assay can be used to assess the function of S. aureus virulence factors associated with biofilm formation and for monitoring the efficacy of biofilm treatment modalities.
Staphylococcus aureus; MRSA; biofilm; assay
The yeast Yarrowia lipolytica is distantly related to Saccharomyces cerevisiae, can be genetically modified, and can grow in both haploid and diploid states in either yeast, pseudomycelial, or mycelial forms, depending on environmental conditions. Previous results have indicated that the STE and RIM pathways, which mediate cellular switching in other dimorphic yeasts, are not required for Y. lipolytica morphogenesis. To identify the pathways involved in morphogenesis, we mutagenized a wild-type strain of Y. lipolytica with a Tn3 derivative. We isolated eight tagged mutants, entirely defective in hyphal formation, from a total of 40,000 mutants and identified seven genes homologous to S. cerevisiae CDC25, RAS2, BUD6, KEX2, GPI7, SNF5, and PPH21. We analyzed their abilities to invade agar and to form pseudomycelium or hyphae under inducing conditions and their sensitivity to temperature and to Calcofluor white. Chitin staining was used to detect defects in their cell walls. Our results indicate that a functional Ras-cyclic AMP pathway is required for the formation of hyphae in Y. lipolytica and that perturbations in the processing of extracellular, possibly parietal, proteins result in morphogenetic defects.
Rhamnolipids have multiple potential applications as “green” surfactants for industry, remediation, and medicine. As a result, they have been intensively investigated to add to our understanding of their biosynthesis and improve yields. Several studies have noted that the addition of a fatty acid cosubstrate increases rhamnolipid yields, but a metabolic explanation has not been offered, partly because biosynthesis studies to date have used sugar or sugar derivatives as the carbon source. The objective of this study was to investigate the role of fatty acid cosubstrates in improving rhamnolipid biosynthesis. A combination of stable isotope tracing and gene expression assays was used to identify lipid precursors and potential lipid metabolic pathways used in rhamnolipid synthesis when fatty acid cosubstrates are present. To this end, we compared the rhamnolipids produced and their yields using either glucose alone or glucose and octadecanoic acid-d35 as cosubstrates. Using a combination of sugar and fatty acids, the rhamnolipid yield was significantly higher (i.e., doubled) than when glucose was used alone. Two patterns of deuterium incorporation (either 1 or 15 deuterium atoms) in a single Rha-C10 lipid chain were observed for octadecanoic acid-d35 treatment, indicating that in the presence of a fatty acid cosubstrate, both de novo fatty acid synthesis and β-oxidation are used to provide lipid precursors for rhamnolipids. Gene expression assays showed a 200- to 600-fold increase in the expression of rhlA and rhlB rhamnolipid biosynthesis genes and a more modest increase of 3- to 4-fold of the fadA β-oxidation pathway gene when octadecanoic acid was present. Taken together, these results suggest that the simultaneous use of de novo fatty acid synthesis and β-oxidation pathways allows for higher production of lipid precursors, resulting in increased rhamnolipid yields.
Yarrowia lipolytica is a dimorphic yeast that efficiently secretes various heterologous proteins and is classified as “generally recognized as safe.” Therefore, it is an attractive protein production host. However, yeasts modify glycoproteins with non-human high mannose-type N-glycans. These structures reduce the protein half-life in vivo and can be immunogenic in man. Here, we describe how we genetically engineered N-glycan biosynthesis in Yarrowia lipolytica so that it produces Man3GlcNAc2 structures on its glycoproteins. We obtained unprecedented levels of homogeneity of this glycanstructure. This is the ideal starting point for building human-like sugars. Disruption of the ALG3 gene resulted in modification of proteins mainly with Man5GlcNAc2 and GlcMan5GlcNAc2 glycans, and to a lesser extent with Glc2Man5GlcNAc2 glycans. To avoid underoccupancy of glycosylation sites, we concomitantly overexpressed ALG6. We also explored several approaches to remove the terminal glucose residues, which hamper further humanization of N-glycosylation; overexpression of the heterodimeric Apergillus niger glucosidase II proved to be the most effective approach. Finally, we overexpressed an α-1,2-mannosidase to obtain Man3GlcNAc2 structures, which are substrates for the synthesis of complex-type glycans. The final Yarrowia lipolytica strain produces proteins glycosylated with the trimannosyl core N-glycan (Man3GlcNAc2), which is the common core of all complex-type N-glycans. All these glycans can be constructed on the obtained trimannosyl N-glycan using either in vivo or in vitro modification with the appropriate glycosyltransferases. The results demonstrate the high potential of Yarrowia lipolytica to be developed as an efficient expression system for the production of glycoproteins with humanized glycans.