Identification of multiple interacting alleles conferring low glycerol and high ethanol yield in Saccharomyces cerevisiae ethanolic fermentation.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Genetic engineering of industrial microorganisms often suffers from undesirable side effects on essential functions. Reverse engineering is an alternative strategy to improve multifactorial traits like low glycerol/high ethanol yield in yeast fermentation. Previous rational engineering of this trait always affected essential functions like growth and stress tolerance. We have screened Saccharomyces cerevisiae biodiversity for specific alleles causing lower glycerol/higher ethanol yield, assuming higher compatibility with normal cellular functionality. Previous work identified ssk1E330N…K356N as causative allele in strain CBS6412, which displayed the lowest glycerol/ethanol ratio. RESULTS:We have now identified a unique segregant, 26B, that shows similar low glycerol/high ethanol production as the superior parent, but lacks the ssk1E330N…K356N allele. Using segregants from the backcross of 26B with the inferior parent strain, we applied pooled-segregant whole-genome sequence analysis and identified three minor quantitative trait loci (QTLs) linked to low glycerol/high ethanol production. Within these QTLs, we identified three novel alleles of known regulatory and structural genes of glycerol metabolism, smp1R110Q,P269Q, hot1P107S,H274Y and gpd1L164P as causative genes. All three genes separately caused a significant drop in the glycerol/ethanol production ratio, while gpd1L164P appeared to be epistatically suppressed by other alleles in the superior parent. The order of potency in reducing the glycerol/ethanol ratio of the three alleles was: gpd1L164P?>?hot1P107S,H274Y???smp1R110Q,P269Q. CONCLUSIONS:Our results show that natural yeast strains harbor multiple specific alleles of genes controlling essential functions, that are apparently compatible with survival in the natural environment. These newly identified alleles can be used as gene tools for engineering industrial yeast strains with multiple subtle changes, minimizing the risk of negatively affecting other essential functions. The gene tools act at the transcriptional, regulatory or structural gene level, distributing the impact over multiple targets and thus further minimizing possible side-effects. In addition, the results suggest polygenic analysis of complex traits as a promising new avenue to identify novel components involved in cellular functions, including those important in industrial applications.
Project description:Background:High-temperature fermentation is desirable for the industrial production of ethanol, which requires thermotolerant yeast strains. However, yeast thermotolerance is a complicated quantitative trait. The understanding of genetic basis behind high-temperature fermentation performance is still limited. Quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping by pooled-segregant whole genome sequencing has been proved to be a powerful and reliable approach to identify the loci, genes and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) variants linked to quantitative traits of yeast. Results:One superior thermotolerant industrial strain and one inferior thermosensitive natural strain with distinct high-temperature fermentation performances were screened from 124 Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains as parent strains for crossing and segregant isolation. Based on QTL mapping by pooled-segregant whole genome sequencing as well as the subsequent reciprocal hemizygosity analysis (RHA) and allele replacement analysis, we identified and validated total eight causative genes in four QTLs that linked to high-temperature fermentation of yeast. Interestingly, loss of heterozygosity in five of the eight causative genes including RXT2, ECM24, CSC1, IRA2 and AVO1 exhibited positive effects on high-temperature fermentation. Principal component analysis (PCA) of high-temperature fermentation data from all the RHA and allele replacement strains of those eight genes distinguished three superior parent alleles including VPS34, VID24 and DAP1 to be greatly beneficial to high-temperature fermentation in contrast to their inferior parent alleles. Strikingly, physiological impacts of the superior parent alleles of VPS34, VID24 and DAP1 converged on cell membrane by increasing trehalose accumulation or reducing membrane fluidity. Conclusions:This work revealed eight novel causative genes and SNP variants closely associated with high-temperature fermentation performance. Among these genes, VPS34 and DAP1 would be good targets for improving high-temperature fermentation of the industrial yeast. It also showed that loss of heterozygosity of causative genes could contribute to the improvement of high-temperature fermentation capacities. Our findings would provide guides to develop more robust and thermotolerant strains for the industrial production of ethanol.
Project description:Very high gravity (VHG) fermentation is aimed to considerably increase both the fermentation rate and the ethanol concentration, thereby reducing capital costs and the risk of bacterial contamination. This process results in critical issues, such as adverse stress factors (ie., osmotic pressure and ethanol inhibition) and high concentrations of metabolic byproducts which are difficult to overcome by a single breeding method. In the present paper, a novel strategy that combines metabolic engineering and genome shuffling to circumvent these limitations and improve the bioethanol production performance of Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains under VHG conditions was developed. First, in strain Z5, which performed better than other widely used industrial strains, the gene GPD2 encoding glycerol 3-phosphate dehydrogenase was deleted, resulting in a mutant (Z5ΔGPD2) with a lower glycerol yield and poor ethanol productivity. Second, strain Z5ΔGPD2 was subjected to three rounds of genome shuffling to improve its VHG fermentation performance, and the best performing strain SZ3-1 was obtained. Results showed that strain SZ3-1 not only produced less glycerol, but also increased the ethanol yield by up to 8% compared with the parent strain Z5. Further analysis suggested that the improved ethanol yield in strain SZ3-1 was mainly contributed by the enhanced ethanol tolerance of the strain. The differences in ethanol tolerance between strains Z5 and SZ3-1 were closely associated with the cell membrane fatty acid compositions and intracellular trehalose concentrations. Finally, genome rearrangements in the optimized strain were confirmed by karyotype analysis. Hence, a combination of genome shuffling and metabolic engineering is an efficient approach for the rapid improvement of yeast strains for desirable industrial phenotypes.
Project description:Glycerol is a major by-product of industrial ethanol production and its formation consumes up to 4 % of the sugar substrate. This study modified the glycerol decomposition pathway of an industrial strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae to optimize the consumption of substrate and yield of ethanol. This study is the first to couple glycerol degradation with ethanol formation, to the best of our knowledge. The recombinant strain overexpressing GCY1 and DAK1, encoding glycerol dehydrogenase and dihydroxyacetone kinase, respectively, in glycerol degradation pathway, exhibited a moderate increase in ethanol yield (2.9 %) and decrease in glycerol yield (24.9 %) compared to the wild type with the initial glucose concentration of 15 % under anaerobic conditions. However, when the mhpF gene, encoding acetylating NAD?-dependent acetaldehyde dehydrogenase from Escherichia coli, was co-expressed in the aforementioned recombinant strain, a further increase in ethanol yield by 5.5 % and decrease in glycerol yield by 48 % were observed for the resultant recombinant strain GDMS1 when acetic acid was added into the medium prior to inoculation compared to the wild type. The process outlined in this study which enhances glycerol consumption and cofactor regulation in an industrial yeast is a promising metabolic engineering strategy to increase ethanol production by reducing the formation of glycerol.
Project description:High ethanol tolerance is an exquisite characteristic of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which enables this microorganism to dominate in natural and industrial fermentations. Up to now, ethanol tolerance has only been analyzed in laboratory yeast strains with moderate ethanol tolerance. The genetic basis of the much higher ethanol tolerance in natural and industrial yeast strains is unknown. We have applied pooled-segregant whole-genome sequence analysis to map all quantitative trait loci (QTL) determining high ethanol tolerance. We crossed a highly ethanol-tolerant segregant of a Brazilian bioethanol production strain with a laboratory strain with moderate ethanol tolerance. Out of 5974 segregants, we pooled 136 segregants tolerant to at least 16% ethanol and 31 segregants tolerant to at least 17%. Scoring of SNPs using whole-genome sequence analysis of DNA from the two pools and parents revealed three major loci and additional minor loci. The latter were more pronounced or only present in the 17% pool compared to the 16% pool. In the locus with the strongest linkage, we identified three closely located genes affecting ethanol tolerance: MKT1, SWS2, and APJ1, with SWS2 being a negative allele located in between two positive alleles. SWS2 and APJ1 probably contained significant polymorphisms only outside the ORF, and lower expression of APJ1 may be linked to higher ethanol tolerance. This work has identified the first causative genes involved in high ethanol tolerance of yeast. It also reveals the strong potential of pooled-segregant sequence analysis using relatively small numbers of selected segregants for identifying QTL on a genome-wide scale.
Project description:Interspecific hybridization has proven to be a potentially valuable technique for generating de novo lager yeast strains that possess diverse and improved traits compared to their parent strains. To further enhance the value of hybridization for strain development, it would be desirable to combine phenotypic traits from more than two parent strains, as well as remove unwanted traits from hybrids. One such trait, that has limited the industrial use of de novo lager yeast hybrids, is their inherent tendency to produce phenolic off-flavours; an undesirable trait inherited from the Saccharomyces eubayanus parent. Trait removal and the addition of traits from a third strain could be achieved through sporulation and meiotic recombination or further mating. However, interspecies hybrids tend to be sterile, which impedes this opportunity.Here we generated a set of five hybrids from three different parent strains, two of which contained DNA from all three parent strains. These hybrids were constructed with fertile allotetraploid intermediates, which were capable of efficient sporulation. We used these eight brewing strains to examine two brewing-relevant phenotypes: stress tolerance and phenolic off-flavour formation. Lipidomics and multivariate analysis revealed links between several lipid species and the ability to ferment in low temperatures and high ethanol concentrations. Unsaturated fatty acids, such as oleic acid, and ergosterol were shown to positively influence growth at high ethanol concentrations. The ability to produce phenolic off-flavours was also successfully removed from one of the hybrids, Hybrid T2, through meiotic segregation. The potential application of these strains in industrial fermentations was demonstrated in wort fermentations, which revealed that the meiotic segregant Hybrid T2 not only didn't produce any phenolic off-flavours, but also reached the highest ethanol concentration and consumed the most maltotriose.Our study demonstrates the possibility of constructing complex yeast hybrids that possess traits that are relevant to industrial lager beer fermentation and that are derived from several parent strains. Yeast lipid composition was also shown to have a central role in determining ethanol and cold tolerance in brewing strains.
Project description:In anaerobic cultures of wild-type Saccharomyces cerevisiae, glycerol production is essential to reoxidize NADH produced in biosynthetic processes. Consequently, glycerol is a major by-product during anaerobic production of ethanol by S. cerevisiae, the single largest fermentation process in industrial biotechnology. The present study investigates the possibility of completely eliminating glycerol production by engineering S. cerevisiae such that it can reoxidize NADH by the reduction of acetic acid to ethanol via NADH-dependent reactions. Acetic acid is available at significant amounts in lignocellulosic hydrolysates of agricultural residues. Consistent with earlier studies, deletion of the two genes encoding NAD-dependent glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GPD1 and GPD2) led to elimination of glycerol production and an inability to grow anaerobically. However, when the E. coli mhpF gene, encoding the acetylating NAD-dependent acetaldehyde dehydrogenase (EC 126.96.36.199; acetaldehyde+NAD++coenzyme A<-->acetyl coenzyme A+NADH+H+), was expressed in the gpd1Delta gpd2Delta strain, anaerobic growth was restored by supplementation with 2.0 g liter(-1) acetic acid. The stoichiometry of acetate consumption and growth was consistent with the complete replacement of glycerol formation by acetate reduction to ethanol as the mechanism for NADH reoxidation. This study provides a proof of principle for the potential of this metabolic engineering strategy to improve ethanol yields, eliminate glycerol production, and partially convert acetate, which is a well-known inhibitor of yeast performance in lignocellulosic hydrolysates, to ethanol. Further research should address the kinetic aspects of acetate reduction and the effect of the elimination of glycerol production on cellular robustness (e.g., osmotolerance).
Project description:Background:Reduction or elimination of by-product formation is of immediate economic relevance in fermentation processes for industrial bioethanol production with the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Anaerobic cultures of wild-type S. cerevisiae require formation of glycerol to maintain the intracellular NADH/NAD+ balance. Previously, functional expression of the Calvin-cycle enzymes ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase (RuBisCO) and phosphoribulokinase (PRK) in S. cerevisiae was shown to enable reoxidation of NADH with CO2 as electron acceptor. In slow-growing cultures, this engineering strategy strongly decreased the glycerol yield, while increasing the ethanol yield on sugar. The present study explores engineering strategies to improve rates of growth and alcoholic fermentation in yeast strains that functionally express RuBisCO and PRK, while maximizing the positive impact on the ethanol yield. Results:Multi-copy integration of a bacterial-RuBisCO expression cassette was combined with expression of the Escherichia coli GroEL/GroES chaperones and expression of PRK from the anaerobically inducible DAN1 promoter. In anaerobic, glucose-grown bioreactor batch cultures, the resulting S. cerevisiae strain showed a 31% lower glycerol yield and a 31% lower specific growth rate than a non-engineered reference strain. Growth of the engineered strain in anaerobic, glucose-limited chemostat cultures revealed a negative correlation between its specific growth rate and the contribution of the Calvin-cycle enzymes to redox homeostasis. Additional deletion of GPD2, which encodes an isoenzyme of NAD+-dependent glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, combined with overexpression of the structural genes for enzymes of the non-oxidative pentose-phosphate pathway, yielded a CO2-reducing strain that grew at the same rate as a non-engineered reference strain in anaerobic bioreactor batch cultures, while exhibiting a 86% lower glycerol yield and a 15% higher ethanol yield. Conclusions:The metabolic engineering strategy presented here enables an almost complete elimination of glycerol production in anaerobic, glucose-grown batch cultures of S. cerevisiae, with an associated increase in ethanol yield, while retaining near wild-type growth rates and a capacity for glycerol formation under osmotic stress. Using current genome-editing techniques, the required genetic modifications can be introduced in one or a few transformations. Evaluation of this concept in industrial strains and conditions is therefore a realistic next step towards its implementation for improving the efficiency of first- and second-generation bioethanol production.
Project description:Glycerol, whose formation contributes to cellular redox balancing and osmoregulation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is an important by-product of yeast-based bioethanol production. Replacing the glycerol pathway by an engineered pathway for NAD+-dependent acetate reduction has been shown to improve ethanol yields and contribute to detoxification of acetate-containing media. However, the osmosensitivity of glycerol non-producing strains limits their applicability in high-osmolarity industrial processes. This study explores engineering strategies for minimizing glycerol production by acetate-reducing strains, while retaining osmotolerance.GPD2 encodes one of two S. cerevisiae isoenzymes of NAD+-dependent glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (G3PDH). Its deletion in an acetate-reducing strain yielded a fourfold lower glycerol production in anaerobic, low-osmolarity cultures but hardly affected glycerol production at high osmolarity. Replacement of both native G3PDHs by an archaeal NADP+-preferring enzyme, combined with deletion of ALD6, yielded an acetate-reducing strain the phenotype of which resembled that of a glycerol-negative gpd1? gpd2? strain in low-osmolarity cultures. This strain grew anaerobically at high osmolarity (1 mol L-1 glucose), while consuming acetate and producing virtually no extracellular glycerol. Its ethanol yield in high-osmolarity cultures was 13% higher than that of an acetate-reducing strain expressing the native glycerol pathway.Deletion of GPD2 provides an attractive strategy for improving product yields of acetate-reducing S. cerevisiae strains in low, but not in high-osmolarity media. Replacement of the native yeast G3PDHs by a heterologous NADP+-preferring enzyme, combined with deletion of ALD6, virtually eliminated glycerol production in high-osmolarity cultures while enabling efficient reduction of acetate to ethanol. After further optimization of growth kinetics, this strategy for uncoupling the roles of glycerol formation in redox homeostasis and osmotolerance can be applicable for improving performance of industrial strains in high-gravity acetate-containing processes.
Project description:Glycerol production by Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which is required for redox-cofactor balancing in anaerobic cultures, causes yield reduction in industrial bioethanol production. Recently, glycerol formation in anaerobic S.?cerevisiae cultures was eliminated by expressing Escherichia coli (acetylating) acetaldehyde dehydrogenase (encoded by mhpF) and simultaneously deleting the GPD1 and GPD2 genes encoding glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, thus coupling NADH reoxidation to reduction of acetate to ethanol. Gpd? strains are, however, sensitive to high sugar concentrations, which complicates industrial implementation of this metabolic engineering concept. In this study, laboratory evolution was used to improve osmotolerance of a Gpd? mhpF-expressing S.?cerevisiae strain. Serial batch cultivation at increasing osmotic pressure enabled isolation of an evolved strain that grew anaerobically at 1?M glucose, at a specific growth rate of 0.12 h?¹. The evolved strain produced glycerol at low concentrations (0.64 ± 0.33 g?l?¹). However, these glycerol concentrations were below 10% of those observed with a Gpd? reference strain. Consequently, the ethanol yield on sugar increased from 79% of the theoretical maximum in the reference strain to 92% for the evolved strains. Genetic analysis indicated that osmotolerance under aerobic conditions required a single dominant chromosomal mutation, and one further mutation in the plasmid-borne mhpF gene for anaerobic growth.
Project description:Creating Saccharomyces yeasts capable of efficient fermentation of pentoses such as xylose remains a key challenge in the production of ethanol from lignocellulosic biomass. Metabolic engineering of industrial Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains has yielded xylose-fermenting strains, but these strains have not yet achieved industrial viability due largely to xylose fermentation being prohibitively slower than that of glucose. Recently, it has been shown that naturally occurring xylose-utilizing Saccharomyces species exist. Uncovering the genetic architecture of such strains will shed further light on xylose metabolism, suggesting additional engineering approaches or possibly even enabling the development of xylose-fermenting yeasts that are not genetically modified. We previously identified a hybrid yeast strain, the genome of which is largely Saccharomyces uvarum, which has the ability to grow on xylose as the sole carbon source. To circumvent the sterility of this hybrid strain, we developed a novel method to genetically characterize its xylose-utilization phenotype, using a tetraploid intermediate, followed by bulk segregant analysis in conjunction with high-throughput sequencing. We found that this strain's growth in xylose is governed by at least two genetic loci, within which we identified the responsible genes: one locus contains a known xylose-pathway gene, a novel homolog of the aldo-keto reductase gene GRE3, while a second locus contains a homolog of APJ1, which encodes a putative chaperone not previously connected to xylose metabolism. Our work demonstrates that the power of sequencing combined with bulk segregant analysis can also be applied to a nongenetically tractable hybrid strain that contains a complex, polygenic trait, and identifies new avenues for metabolic engineering as well as for construction of nongenetically modified xylose-fermenting strains.