Vincent J J Martin

Concordia University Montreal, Montréal, Quebec, Canada

Are you Vincent J J Martin?

Claim your profile

Publications (41)213.54 Total impact

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: L-tyrosine is a common precursor for a wide range of valuable secondary metabolites, including benzylisoquinoline alkaloids (BIAs) and many polyketides. An industrially tractable yeast strain optimized for production of L-tyrosine could serve as a platform for the development of BIA and polyketide cell factories. This study applied a targeted metabolomics approach to evaluate metabolic engineering strategies to increase the availability of intracellular L-tyrosine in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae CEN.PK. Our engineering strategies combined localized pathway engineering with global engineering of central metabolism, facilitated by genome-scale steady-state modelling. Addition of a tyrosine feedback resistant version of 3-deoxy-D-arabino-heptulosonate-7-phosphate synthase Aro4 from S. cerevisiae was combined with overexpression of either a tyrosine feedback resistant yeast chorismate mutase Aro7, the native pentafunctional arom protein Aro1, native prephenate dehydrogenase Tyr1 or cyclohexadienyl dehydrogenase TyrC from Zymomonas mobilis. Loss of aromatic carbon was limited by eliminating phenylpyruvate decarboxylase Aro10. The TAL gene from Rhodobacter sphaeroides was used to produce coumarate as a simple test case of a heterologous by-product of tyrosine. Additionally, multiple strategies for engineering global metabolism to promote tyrosine production were evaluated using metabolic modelling. The T21E mutant of pyruvate kinase Cdc19 was hypothesized to slow the conversion of phosphoenolpyruvate to pyruvate and accumulate the former as precursor to the shikimate pathway. The ZWF1 gene coding for glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase was deleted to create an NADPH deficiency designed to force the cell to couple its growth to tyrosine production via overexpressed NADP(+)-dependent prephenate dehydrogenase Tyr1. Our engineered Zwf1(-) strain expressing TYRC ARO4 (FBR) and grown in the presence of methionine achieved an intracellular L-tyrosine accumulation up to 520 μmol/g DCW or 192 mM in the cytosol, but sustained flux through this pathway was found to depend on the complete elimination of feedback inhibition and degradation pathways. Our targeted metabolomics approach confirmed a likely regulatory site at DAHP synthase and identified another possible cofactor limitation at prephenate dehydrogenase. Additionally, the genome-scale metabolic model identified design strategies that have the potential to improve availability of erythrose 4-phosphate for DAHP synthase and cofactor availability for prephenate dehydrogenase. We evaluated these strategies and provide recommendations for further improvement of aromatic amino acid biosynthesis in S. cerevisiae.
    Microbial Cell Factories 05/2015; 14(1):73. DOI:10.1186/s12934-015-0252-2 · 4.25 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Benzylisoquinoline alkaloids (BIAs) are a diverse family of plant-specialized metabolites that include the pharmaceuticals codeine and morphine and their derivatives. Microbial synthesis of BIAs holds promise as an alternative to traditional crop-based manufacturing. Here we demonstrate the production of the key BIA intermediate (S)-reticuline from glucose in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. To aid in this effort, we developed an enzyme-coupled biosensor for the upstream intermediate L-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-DOPA). Using this sensor, we identified an active tyrosine hydroxylase and improved its L-DOPA yields by 2.8-fold via PCR mutagenesis. Coexpression of DOPA decarboxylase enabled what is to our knowledge the first demonstration of dopamine production from glucose in yeast, with a 7.4-fold improvement in titer obtained for our best mutant enzyme. We extended this pathway to fully reconstitute the seven-enzyme pathway from L-tyrosine to (S)-reticuline. Future work to improve titers and connect these steps with downstream pathway branches, already demonstrated in S. cerevisiae, will enable low-cost production of many high-value BIAs.
    Nature Chemical Biology 05/2015; DOI:10.1038/nchembio.1816 · 13.22 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Morphinan alkaloids are the most powerful narcotic analgesics currently used to treat moderate to severe and chronic pain. The feasibility of morphinan synthesis in recombinant Saccharomyces cerevisiae starting from the precursor (R,S)-norlaudanosoline was investigated. Chiral analysis of the reticuline produced by the expression of opium poppy methyltransferases showed strict enantioselectivity for (S)-reticuline starting from (R,S)-norlaudanosoline. In addition, the P. somniferum enzymes salutaridine synthase (PsSAS), salutaridine reductase (PsSAR) and salutaridinol acetyltransferase (PsSAT) were functionally co-expressed in S. cerevisiae and optimization of the pH conditions allowed for productive spontaneous rearrangement of salutaridinol-7-O-acetate and synthesis of thebaine from (R)-reticuline. Finally, we reconstituted a 7-gene pathway for the production of codeine and morphine from (R)-reticuline. Yeast cell feeding assays using (R)-reticuline, salutaridine or codeine as substrates showed that all enzymes were functionally co-expressed in yeast and that activity of salutaridine reductase and codeine-O-demethylase likely limit flux to morphine synthesis. The results of this study describe a significant advance for the synthesis of morphinans in S. cerevisiae and pave the way for their complete synthesis in recombinant microbes.
    PLoS ONE 04/2015; 10(4):e0124459. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0124459 · 3.53 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Polyketides are a diverse and important class of naturally-derived compounds with applications in pharmaceuticals, nutrition, and flavouring. Industrial production of important polyketides or their precursors in yeast has the potential to significantly lower manufacturing costs on existing products, as well as open up new products for commercialization. Intensive efforts in enzyme discovery and yeast synthetic biology have already enabled heterologous production of a handful of nonnative polyketides in yeast, but yields and titres are currently too low for commercial feasibility, partly due to the high material and energy cost to the cells needed to build these compounds. Here, we describe recent efforts to engineer yeast metabolism to channel metabolic flux towards common polyketide precursors in order to develop "platform strains" that are optimized for hosting heterologous polyketide production pathways. In our approach, steady-state constraint-based computational models assisted in the design of knockouts in the pentose phosphate pathway that force overproduction of the aromatic amino acid precursor erythrose 4-phosphate (E4P), and kinetic models suggest modifications to reaction kinetics in glycolysis that promote higher steady state concentrations of phosphoenol pyruvate (PEP). We demonstrate the implementation of these modifications in the Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain CEN.PK and combine them with manipulations of feedback inhibition of aromatic amino acid biosynthesis and remedies to cofactor imbalances created by the knockouts in the pentose phosphate pathway. The impacts of these modifications are examined in the context of a heterologous pathway for the production of a model polyketide. Our results indicate that platform strain performance depends on balanced cofactor levels, availability of critical precursors, and regulation of synthetic pathway expression levels.
    14 AIChE Annual Meeting; 11/2014
  • Damien Biot-Pelletier, Vincent J J Martin
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: An upsurge in the bioeconomy drives the need for engineering microorganisms with increasingly complex phenotypes. Gains in productivity of industrial microbes depend on the development of improved strains. Classical strain improvement programmes for the generation, screening and isolation of such mutant strains have existed for several decades. An alternative to traditional strain improvement methods, genome shuffling, allows the directed evolution of whole organisms via recursive recombination at the genome level. This review deals chiefly with the technical aspects of genome shuffling. It first presents the diversity of organisms and phenotypes typically evolved using this technology and then reviews available sources of genetic diversity and recombination methodologies. Analysis of the literature reveals that genome shuffling has so far been restricted to microorganisms, both prokaryotes and eukaryotes, with an overepresentation of antibiotics- and biofuel-producing microbes. Mutagenesis is the main source of genetic diversity, with few studies adopting alternative strategies. Recombination is usually done by protoplast fusion or sexual recombination, again with few exceptions. For both diversity and recombination, prospective methods that have not yet been used are also presented. Finally, the potential of genome shuffling for gaining insight into the genetic basis of complex phenotypes is also discussed.
    Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 03/2014; 98(9). DOI:10.1007/s00253-014-5616-8 · 3.81 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Benzylisoquinoline alkaloids (BIAs) represent a large class of plant secondary metabolites, including pharmaceuticals such as morphine, codeine and their derivatives. Large-scale production of BIA-based pharmaceuticals is limited to extraction and derivatization of alkaloids that accumulate in planta. Synthesis of BIAs in microbial hosts could bypass such limitations and transform both industrial production of BIAs with recognized value and research into uncharacterized BIAs. Here we reconstitute a 10-gene plant pathway in Saccharomyces cerevisiae that allows for the production of dihydrosanguinarine and its oxidized derivative sanguinarine from (R,S)-norlaudanosoline. Synthesis of dihydrosanguinarine also yields the side-products N-methylscoulerine and N-methylcheilanthifoline, the latter of which has not been detected in plants. This work represents the longest reconstituted alkaloid pathway ever assembled in yeast and demonstrates the feasibility of the production of high-value alkaloids in microbial systems.
    Nature Communications 02/2014; 5:3283. DOI:10.1038/ncomms4283 · 10.74 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Use of lignocellulosic biomass as a second generation feedstock in the biofuels industry is a pressing challenge. Among other difficulties in using lignocellulosic biomass, one major challenge is the optimal utilization of both 6-carbon (glucose) and 5-carbon (xylose) sugars by industrial microorganisms. Most industrial microorganisms sequentially utilize glucose over xylose owing to the regulatory phenomenon of carbon catabolite repression (CCR). Microorganisms that can co-utilize glucose and xylose are of considerable interest to the biofuels industry due to their ability to simplify the fermentation processes. However, elimination of CCR in microorganisms is challenging due to the multiple coordinating mechanisms involved. We report a novel algorithm, SIMUP, which finds metabolic engineering strategies to force co-utilization of two sugars, without targeting the regulatory pathways of CCR. Mutants of Escherichia coli based on SIMUP algorithm showed predicted growth phenotypes and co-utilized glucose and xylose; however, consumed the sugars slower than the wild-type. Some solutions identified by the algorithm were based on stoichiometric imbalance and were not obvious from the metabolic network topology. Furthermore, sequencing studies on the genes involved in CCR showed that the mechanism for co-utilization of the sugars could be different from previously known mechanisms.
    Metabolic Engineering 08/2013; 20. DOI:10.1016/j.ymben.2013.08.003 · 8.26 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Plants produce a vast array of specialized metabolites, many of which are used as pharmaceuticals, flavours, fragrances, and other high-value fine chemicals. However, most of these compounds occur in non-model plants for which genomic sequence information is not yet available. The production of a large amount of nucleotide sequence data using next-generation technologies is now relatively fast and cost-effective, especially when using the latest Roche-454 and Illumina sequencers with enhanced base-calling accuracy. To investigate specialized metabolite biosynthesis in non-model plants we have established a data mining framework, employing next-generation sequencing and computational algorithms, to construct and analyze the transcriptomes of 75 non-model plants that produce compounds of interest for biotechnological applications. After sequence assembly an extensive annotation approach was applied to assign functional information to over 800,000 putative transcripts. The annotation is based on direct searches against public databases, including RefSeq and InterPro. Gene Ontology (GO), Enzyme Commission (EC) annotations and associated Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway maps are also collected. As a proof-of-concept, the selection of biosynthetic gene candidates associated with six specialized metabolic pathways is described. A web-based BLAST server has been established to allow public access to assembled transcriptome databases for all 75 plant species of the PhytoMetaSyn Project (
    Journal of Biotechnology 04/2013; 166(3). DOI:10.1016/j.jbiotec.2013.04.004 · 2.88 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Global gene expression was analyzed in Saccharomyces cerevisiae T2 cells grown in the presence of hardwood spent sulphite liquor (HW SSL) and each of the three main inhibitors in HW SSL, acetic acid, hydroxymethyfurfural (HMF) and furfural, using a S. cerevisiae DNA oligonucleotide microarray. The objective was to compare the gene expression profiles of T2 cells in response to the individual inhibitors against that elicited in response to HW SSL. Acetic acid mainly affected the expression of genes related to the uptake systems of the yeast as well as energy generation and metabolism. Furfural and HMF mainly affected the transcription of genes involved in the redox balance of the cell. On the other hand, the effect of HW SSL on S. cerevisiae T2 cells was distinct and considerably more diverse as compared to the effect of individual inhibitors found in lignocellulosic hydrolysates. This is not surprising as HW SSL contains a complex mixture of inhibitors which may act synergistically. HW SSL elicited significant changes in expression of genes involved in diverse and multiple effects on several aspects of the cellular structure and function. A notable response to HW SSL was decreased expression of the ribosomal protein genes in T2 cells. In addition, HW SSL decreased the expression of genes functioning in the synthesis and transport of proteins as well as metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids, vitamins and vacuolar proteins. Furthermore, the expression of genes involved in multidrug resistance, iron transport and pheromone response was increased, suggesting that T2 cells grown in the presence of HW SSL may have activated pheromone response and/or activated pleiotropic drug response. Some of the largest changes in gene expression were observed in the presence of HW SSL and the affected genes are involved in mating, iron transport, stress response and phospholipid metabolism. A total of 59 out of the 400 genes differentially expressed in the presence of HW SSL, acetic acid, HMF and furfural, belonged to the category of poorly characterized genes. The results indicate that transcriptional responses to individual lignocellulosic inhibitors gave a different picture and may not be representative of how the cells would respond to the presence of all the inhibitors in lignocellulosic hydrolysates such as HW SSL.
    Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 03/2013; 103(6):1281-1295. DOI:10.1007/s10482-013-9909-1 · 2.14 Impact Factor
  • Euan Burton, Vincent J J Martin
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Clostridium thermocellum is a Gram-positive thermophilic anaerobic bacterium with the ability to directly convert cellulosic biomass into useful products such as ethanol and hydrogen. In this study, a quantitative comparative proteomic analysis of the organism was performed to identify proteins and biochemical pathways that are differentially utilized by the organism after growth on cellobiose or cellulose. The cytoplasmic and membrane proteomes of C. thermocellum grown on cellulose or cellobiose were quantitatively compared using a metabolic (15)N isotope labelling method in conjunction with nanoLC-ESI-MS/MS (liquid chromatography - electrospray ionization - tandem mass spectrometry). In total, 1255 proteins were identified in the study, and 129 of those were able to have their relative abundance per cell compared in at least one cellular compartment in response to the substrate provided. This study reveals that cells grown on cellulose increase their abundance of phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase while decreasing the abundance of pyruvate dikinase and oxaloacetate decarboxylase, suggesting that the organism diverts carbon flow into a transhydrogenase-malate pathway that can increase the production of the biosynthetic intermediates NADPH and GTP. Glutamate dehydrogenase was also found to have increased abundance in cellulose-grown cells, suggesting that the assimilation of ammonia is upregulated in cells grown on the cellulosic substrates. The results illustrate a mechanism by which C. thermocellum can divert carbon into alternative pathways for the purpose of producing biosynthetic intermediates necessary to respond to growth on cellulose, including transhydrogenation of NADH to NADPH and increased nitrogen assimilation.
    Canadian Journal of Microbiology 12/2012; 58(12):1378-88. DOI:10.1139/cjm-2012-0412 · 1.18 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Benzylisoquinoline alkaloids are a diverse class of plant specialized metabolites that includes the analgesic morphine, the antimicrobials sanguinarine and berberine, and the vasodilator papaverine. The two-electron oxidation of dihydrosanguinarine catalyzed by dihydrobenzophenanthridine oxidase (DBOX) is the final step in sanguinarine biosynthesis. The formation of the fully conjugated ring system in sanguinarine is similar to the four-electron oxidations of (S)-canadine to berberine and (S)-tetrahydropapaverine to papaverine. We report the isolation and functional characterization of an opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) cDNA encoding DBOX, a flavoprotein oxidase with homology to (S)-tetrahydroprotoberberine oxidase (STOX) and the berberine bridge enzyme (BBE). Query of translated opium poppy stem transcriptome databases using BBE yielded several candidate genes including a STOX-like sequence selected for heterologous expression in Pichia pastoris. The recombinant enzyme preferentially catalyzed the oxidation of dihydrosanguinarine to sanguinarine, but also converted (R,S)-tetrahydropapaverine to papaverine, and several protoberberine alkaloids to oxidized forms including (R,S)-canadine to berberine. The Km values of 201 and 146 μM for dihydrosanguinarine and the protoberberine alkaloid (S)-scoulerine, respectively, suggested high concentrations of these substrates in the plant. Virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) to reduce DBOX transcript levels resulted in a corresponding reduction in sanguinarine, dihydrosanguinarine, and papaverine accumulation in opium poppy roots in support of DBOX as a multi-functional oxidative enzyme in BIA metabolism.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 11/2012; DOI:10.1074/jbc.M112.420414 · 4.60 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Polyketides are an important group of secondary metabolites, many of which have important industrial applications in the food and pharmaceutical industries. Polyketides are synthesized from one of three classes of enzymes differentiated by their biochemical features and product structure: type I, type II or type III polyketide synthases (PKSs). Plant type III PKS enzymes, which will be the main focus of this review, are relatively small homodimeric proteins that catalyze iterative decarboxylative condensations of malonyl units with a CoA-linked starter molecule. This review will describe the plant type III polyketide synthetic pathway, including the synthesis of chalcones, stilbenes and curcuminoids, as well as recent work on the synthesis of these polyketides in heterologous organisms. The limitations and bottlenecks of heterologous expression as well as attempts at creating diversity through the synthesis of novel "unnatural" polyketides using type III PKSs will also be discussed. Although synthetic production of plant polyketides is still in its infancy, their potential as useful bioactive compounds makes them an extremely interesting area of study.
    10/2012; 3(4):e201210020. DOI:10.5936/csbj.201210020
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Converting cellulosic biomass to ethanol involves the enzymatic hydrolysis of cellulose and the fermentation of the resulting glucose. The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is naturally ethanologenic, but lacks the enzymes necessary to degrade cellulose to glucose. Towards the goal of engineering S. cerevisiae for hydrolysis of and ethanol production from cellulose, 35 fungal β-glucosidases (BGL) from the BGL1 and BGL5 families were screened for their ability to be functionally expressed and displayed on the cell surface. Activity assays revealed that the BGL families had different substrate specificities, with only the BGL1s displaying activity on their natural substrate, cellobiose. However, growth on cellobiose showed no correlation between the specific growth rates, the final cell titer, and the level of BGL1 activity that was expressed. One of the BGLs that expressed the highest levels of cellobiase activity, Aspergillus niger BGL1 (Anig-Bgl101), was then used for further studies directed at developing an efficient cellobiose-fermenting strain. Expressing Anig-Bgl101 from a plasmid yielded higher ethanol levels when secreted into the medium rather than anchored to the cell surface. In contrast, ethanol yields from anchored and secreted Anig-Bgl101 were comparable when integrated on the chromosome. Flow cytometry analysis revealed that chromosomal integration of Anig-Bgl101 resulted in a higher percentage of the cell population that displayed the enzyme but with overall lower expression levels.
    Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 01/2012; 95(3):647-59. DOI:10.1007/s00253-011-3788-z · 3.81 Impact Factor
  • Corinne P Cluis, Dominic Pinel, Vincent J Martin
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Coenzyme Q10 has emerged as a valuable molecule for pharmaceutical and cosmetic applications. Therefore, research into producing and optimizing coenzyme Q10 via microbial fermentation is ongoing. There are two major paths being explored for maximizing production of this molecule to commercially advantageous levels. The first entails using microbes that naturally produce coenzyme Q10 as fermentation biocatalysts and optimizing the fermentation parameters in order to reach industrial levels of production. However, the natural coenzyme Q10-producing microbes tend to be intractable for industrial fermentation settings. The second path to coenzyme Q10 production being explored is to engineer Escherichia coli with the ability to biosynthesize this molecule in order to take advantage of its more favourable fermentation characteristics and the well-understood array of genetic tools available for this bacteria. Although many studies have attempted to over-produce coenzyme Q10 in E. coli through genetic engineering, production titres still remain below those of the natural coenzyme Q10-producing microorganisms. Current research is providing the knowledge needed to alleviate the bottlenecks involved in producing coenzyme Q10 from an E. coli strain platform and the fermentation parameters that could dramatically increase production titres from natural microbial producers. Synthesizing the lessons learned from both approaches may be the key towards a more cost-effective coenzyme Q10 industry.
    Sub-cellular biochemistry 01/2012; 64:303-26. DOI:10.1007/978-94-007-5055-5_15
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Plants display an immense diversity of specialized metabolites, many of which have been important to humanity as medicines, flavors, fragrances, pigments, insecticides and other fine chemicals. Apparently, much of the variation in plant specialized metabolism evolved through events of gene duplications followed by neo- or sub-functionalization. Most of the catalytic diversity of plant enzymes is unexplored since previous biochemical and genomics efforts have focused on a relatively small number of species. Interdisciplinary research in plant genomics, microbial engineering and synthetic biology provides an opportunity to accelerate the discovery of new enzymes. The massive identification, characterization and cataloguing of plant enzymes coupled with their deployment in metabolically optimized microbes provide a high-throughput functional genomics tool and a novel strain engineering pipeline.
    Trends in Biotechnology 12/2011; 30(3):127-31. DOI:10.1016/j.tibtech.2011.10.001 · 10.04 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In this work, Escherichia coli was engineered to produce a medically valuable cofactor, coenzyme Q(10) (CoQ(10)), by removing the endogenous octaprenyl diphosphate synthase gene and functionally replacing it with a decaprenyl diphosphate synthase gene from Sphingomonas baekryungensis. In addition, by over-expressing genes coding for rate-limiting enzymes of the aromatic pathway, biosynthesis of the CoQ(10) precursor para-hydroxybenzoate (PHB) was increased. The production of isoprenoid precursors of CoQ(10) was also improved by the heterologous expression of a synthetic mevalonate operon, which permits the conversion of exogenously supplied mevalonate to farnesyl diphosphate. The over-expression of these precursors in the CoQ(10)-producing E. coli strain resulted in an increase in CoQ(10) content, as well as in the accumulation of an intermediate of the ubiquinone pathway, decaprenylphenol (10P-Ph). In addition, the over-expression of a PHB decaprenyl transferase (UbiA) encoded by a gene from Erythrobacter sp. NAP1 was introduced to direct the flux of DPP and PHB towards the ubiquinone pathway. This further increased CoQ(10) content in engineered E. coli, but decreased the accumulation of 10P-Ph. Finally, we report that the combined over-production of isoprenoid precursors and over-expression of UbiA results in the decaprenylation of para-aminobenzoate, a biosynthetic precursor of folate, which is structurally similar to PHB.
    Metabolic Engineering 11/2011; 13(6):733-44. DOI:10.1016/j.ymben.2011.09.009 · 8.26 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Though highly efficient at fermenting hexose sugars, Saccharomyces cerevisiae has limited ability to ferment five-carbon sugars. As a significant portion of sugars found in cellulosic biomass is the five-carbon sugar xylose, S. cerevisiae must be engineered to metabolize pentose sugars, commonly by the addition of exogenous genes from xylose fermenting fungi. However, these recombinant strains grow poorly on xylose and require further improvement through rational engineering or evolutionary adaptation. To identify unknown genes that contribute to improved xylose fermentation in these recombinant S. cerevisiae, we performed genome-wide synthetic interaction screens to identify deletion mutants that impact xylose utilization of strains expressing the xylose isomerase gene XYLA from Piromyces sp. E2 alone or with an additional copy of the endogenous xylulokinase gene XKS1. We also screened the deletion mutant array to identify mutants whose growth is affected by xylose. Our genetic network reveals that more than 80 nonessential genes from a diverse range of cellular processes impact xylose utilization. Surprisingly, we identified four genes, ALP1, ISC1, RPL20B, and BUD21, that when individually deleted improved xylose utilization of both S. cerevisiae S288C and CEN.PK strains. We further characterized BUD21 deletion mutant cells in batch fermentations and found that they produce ethanol even the absence of exogenous XYLA. We have demonstrated that the ability of laboratory strains of S. cerevisiae to utilize xylose as a sole carbon source is suppressed, which implies that S. cerevisiae may not require the addition of exogenous genes for efficient xylose fermentation.
    G3-Genes Genomes Genetics 09/2011; 1(4):247-58. DOI:10.1534/g3.111.000695 · 2.51 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Two genome-shuffled Scheffersomyces stipitis strains, GS301 and GS302, exhibiting improved tolerance to hardwood spent sulphite liquor, were tested for growth and fermentation performance on three wood hydrolysates: (a) steam-pretreated enzymatically hydrolyzed poplar hydrolysate from Mascoma Canada, (b) steam pretreated poplar hydrolysate from University of British Columbia Forest Products Biotechnology Laboratory, and (c) mixed hardwoods pre-hydrolysate from FPInnovations (FPI). In the FPI hydrolysate, the wild type (WT) died off within 25 h, while GS301 and GS302 survived beyond 100 h. In fermentation tests, GS301 and GS302 completely utilized glucose and xylose in each hydrolysate and produced 0.39-1.4% (w/v) ethanol. In contrast, the WT did not utilize or poorly utilized glucose and xylose and produced non-detectable to trace amounts of ethanol. The results demonstrated cross tolerance of the mutants to inhibitors in three different wood hydrolysates and reinforced the utility of mating-based genome shuffling approach in industrial yeast strain improvement.
    Bioresource Technology 08/2011; 102(21):9965-9. DOI:10.1016/j.biortech.2011.08.027 · 5.04 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Spent sulfite liquor (SSL) is a waste effluent from sulfite pulping that contains monomeric sugars which can be fermented to ethanol. However, fermentative yeasts used for the fermentation of the sugars in SSL are adversely affected by the inhibitory substances in this complex feedstock. To overcome this limitation, evolutionary engineering of Saccharomyces cerevisiae was carried out using genome-shuffling technology based on large-scale population cross mating. Populations of UV-light-induced yeast mutants more tolerant than the wild type to hardwood spent sulfite liquor (HWSSL) were first isolated and then recursively mated and enriched for more-tolerant populations. After five rounds of genome shuffling, three strains were isolated that were able to grow on undiluted HWSSL and to support efficient ethanol production from the sugars therein for prolonged fermentation of HWSSL. Analyses showed that greater HWSSL tolerance is associated with improved viability in the presence of salt, sorbitol, peroxide, and acetic acid. Our results showed that evolutionary engineering through genome shuffling will yield robust yeasts capable of fermenting the sugars present in HWSSL, which is a complex substrate containing multiple sources of inhibitors. These strains may not be obtainable through classical evolutionary engineering and can serve as a model for further understanding of the mechanism behind simultaneous tolerance to multiple inhibitors.
    Applied and Environmental Microbiology 05/2011; 77(14):4736-43. DOI:10.1128/AEM.02769-10 · 3.95 Impact Factor
  • Source
    Andrew S Wieczorek, Vincent J J Martin
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The assembly and spatial organization of enzymes in naturally occurring multi-protein complexes is of paramount importance for the efficient degradation of complex polymers and biosynthesis of valuable products. The degradation of cellulose into fermentable sugars by Clostridium thermocellum is achieved by means of a multi-protein "cellulosome" complex. Assembled via dockerin-cohesin interactions, the cellulosome is associated with the cell surface during cellulose hydrolysis, forming ternary cellulose-enzyme-microbe complexes for enhanced activity and synergy. The assembly of recombinant cell surface displayed cellulosome-inspired complexes in surrogate microbes is highly desirable. The model organism Lactococcus lactis is of particular interest as it has been metabolically engineered to produce a variety of commodity chemicals including lactic acid and bioactive compounds, and can efficiently secrete an array of recombinant proteins and enzymes of varying sizes. Fragments of the scaffoldin protein CipA were functionally displayed on the cell surface of Lactococcus lactis. Scaffolds were engineered to contain a single cohesin module, two cohesin modules, one cohesin and a cellulose-binding module, or only a cellulose-binding module. Cell toxicity from over-expression of the proteins was circumvented by use of the nisA inducible promoter, and incorporation of the C-terminal anchor motif of the streptococcal M6 protein resulted in the successful surface-display of the scaffolds. The facilitated detection of successfully secreted scaffolds was achieved by fusion with the export-specific reporter staphylococcal nuclease (NucA). Scaffolds retained their ability to associate in vivo with an engineered hybrid reporter enzyme, E. coli β-glucuronidase fused to the type 1 dockerin motif of the cellulosomal enzyme CelS. Surface-anchored complexes exhibited dual enzyme activities (nuclease and β-glucuronidase), and were displayed with efficiencies approaching 104 complexes/cell. We report the successful display of cellulosome-inspired recombinant complexes on the surface of Lactococcus lactis. Significant differences in display efficiency among constructs were observed and attributed to their structural characteristics including protein conformation and solubility, scaffold size, and the inclusion and exclusion of non-cohesin modules. The surface-display of functional scaffold proteins described here represents a key step in the development of recombinant microorganisms capable of carrying out a variety of metabolic processes including the direct conversion of cellulosic substrates into fuels and chemicals.
    Microbial Cell Factories 09/2010; 9:69. DOI:10.1186/1475-2859-9-69 · 4.25 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

1k Citations
213.54 Total Impact Points


  • 2006–2015
    • Concordia University Montreal
      • • Centre for Structural and Functional Genomics
      • • Department of Biology
      Montréal, Quebec, Canada
  • 2011
    • LS9 Inc.
      San Francisco, California, United States
  • 2001–2007
    • University of California, Berkeley
      • Department of Bioengineering
      Berkeley, California, United States
  • 2004–2006
    • Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
      • Physical Biosciences Division
      Berkeley, California, United States
  • 1999–2006
    • University of British Columbia - Vancouver
      • Department of Microbiology and Immunology
      Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada