Reference: Minnaar L and den Haan R (2023) Engineering natural isolates of Saccharomyces cerevisiae for consolidated bioprocessing of cellulosic feedstocks. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 107(22):7013-7028

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Abstract


Saccharomyces cerevisiae has gained much attention as a potential host for cellulosic bioethanol production using consolidated bioprocessing (CBP) methodologies, due to its high-ethanol-producing titres, heterologous protein production capabilities, and tolerance to various industry-relevant stresses. Since the secretion levels of heterologous proteins are generally low in domesticated strains of S. cerevisiae, natural isolates may offer a more diverse genetic background for improved heterologous protein secretion, while also displaying greater robustness to process stresses. In this study, the potential of natural and industrial S. cerevisiae strains to secrete a core set of cellulases (CBH1, CBH2, EG2, and BGL1), encoded by genes integrated using CRISPR/Cas9 tools, was evaluated. High levels of heterologous protein production were associated with a reduced maximal growth rate and with slight changes in overall strain robustness, compared to the parental strains. The natural isolate derivatives YI13_BECC and YI59_BECC displayed superior secretion capacity for the heterologous cellulases at high incubation temperature and in the presence of acetic acid, respectively, compared to the reference industrial strain MH1000_BECC. These strains also exhibited multi-tolerance to several fermentation-associated and secretion stresses. Cultivation of the strains on crystalline cellulose in oxygen-limited conditions yielded ethanol concentrations in the range of 4-4.5 g/L, representing 35-40% of the theoretical maximum ethanol yield after 120 h, without the addition of exogenous enzymes. This study therefore highlights the potential of these natural isolates to be used as chassis organisms in CBP bioethanol production. KEY POINTS: • Process-related fermentation stresses influence heterologous protein production. • Transformants produced up to 4.5 g/L ethanol, ~ 40% of the theoretical yield in CBP. • CRISPR/Cas9 was feasible for integrating genes in natural S. cerevisiae isolates.

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Journal Article
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Minnaar L, den Haan R
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