Research Items (30)
- Aug 2017
- 28th International Conference on Yeast Genetics and Molecular Biology (ICYGMB)
- Sep 2016
- XIV FISV CONGRESS • Rome, Italy - September 20-23, 2016
Fatty acids (FAs) are essential components of functional cytoplasmic and organelle membranes. FAs vary in length and in number of double bonds depending on the species and also on the environmental conditions. A proper FAs membrane composition is critical for membrane function and consequently for cell viability. Unsaturated and polyunsaturated FAs determine functional membrane properties like fluidity. Although studies on lipid metabolism have been conducted in S. cerevisiae, this is not always the appropriate model yeast to study FAs properties conserved in evolution because FAs biosynthesis is restricted to saturated and monounsaturated FAs. In Kluyveromyces lactis, FAs composition is enriched with the polyunsaturated linoleic and α-linolenic acids generated by the Δ12 (Fad2) and ω3 (Fad3) desaturases. Our studies on this yeast indicate that environmental signals (glucose, oxygen and temperature) regulate FAs biosynthesis. Part of this regulation is mediated by the activity of the hypoxic regulator KlMga2. The effects on FAs composition and cellular fitness of the deletion of the KlMGA2 gene and of the desaturase genes FAD2 and FAD3 have been studied. Work funded by MAECI (Direzione Generale per la Promozione del Sistema Paese).
In the yeast Kluyveromyces lactis, the inactivation of structural or regulatory glycolytic and fermentative genes generates obligate respiratory mutants which can be characterized by sensitivity to the mitochondrial drug antimycin A on glucose medium (Rag(-) phenotype). Rag(-) mutations can occasionally be generated by inactivation of genes not evidently related to glycolysis or fermentation. One of such genes is the hypoxic regulatory gene KlMGA2. In this work we report a study of the many defects, in addition to the Rag(-) phenotype, generated by KlMGA2 deletion. We analyzed the fermentative and respiratory metabolism, mitochondrial functioning and morphology in the Klmga2Δ strain. We also examined alterations in the regulation of the expression of lipid biosynthetic genes, in particular fatty acids, ergosterol and cardiolipin, under hypoxic and cold stress and the phenotypic suppression by unsaturated fatty acids of the deleted strain. Results indicate that, despite to the fact that the deleted mutant strain had a typical glycolytic/fermentative phenotype and KlMGA2 is a hypoxic regulatory gene, the deletion of this gene generated defects linked to mitochondrial functions suggesting new roles of this protein in the general regulation and cellular fitness of K. lactis. Supplementation of unsaturated fatty acids suppressed or modified these defects suggesting that KlMga2 modulates membrane functioning or membrane associated functions, both cytoplasmic and mitochondrial. © FEMS 2015. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saccharomyces cerevisiae CEN.PK113-5D, a strain auxotrophic for uracil belonging to the CEN.PK family of the yeast S. cerevisiae, was cultured in aerated fed-batch reactor as such and once transformed to express human interleukin-1β (IL-1β), aiming at obtaining high cell densities and optimizing IL-1β production. Three different exponentially increasing glucose feeding profiles were tested, all of them "in theory" promoting respiratory metabolism to obtain high biomass/product yield. A non-structured non-segregated model was developed to describe the performance of S. cerevisiae CEN.PK113-5D during the fed-batch process and, in particular, its capability to metabolize simultaneously glucose and ethanol which derived from the precedent batch growth. Our study showed that the proliferative capacity of the yeast population declined along the fed-batch run, as shown by the exponentially decreasing specific growth rates on glucose. Further, a shift towards fermentative metabolism occurred. This shift took place earlier the higher was the feed rate and was more pronounced in the case of the recombinant strain. Determination of some physiological markers (acetate production, intracellular ROS accumulation, catalase activity and cell viability) showed that neither poor oxygenation nor oxidative stress was responsible for the decreased specific growth rate, nor for the shift to fermentative metabolism.
- Nov 2012
Yeast chronological aging is regarded as a model for aging of mammalian post-mitotic cells. It refers to changes occurring in stationary phase cells over a relatively long period of time. How long these cells can survive in such a non-dividing state defines the chronological lifespan. Several factors influence cell survival including two well known normal by-products of yeast glucose fermentation such as ethanol and acetic acid. In fact, the presence in the growth medium of these C2 compounds has been shown to limit the chronological lifespan. In the chronological aging paradigm, a pro-aging role has also emerged for the deacetylase Sir2, the founding member of the Sirtuin family, whose loss of function increases the depletion of extracellular ethanol by an unknown mechanism. Here, we show that lack of Sir2 strongly influences carbon metabolism. In particular, we point out a more efficient acetate utilization which in turn may have a stimulatory effect on ethanol catabolism. This correlates with an enhanced glyoxylate/gluconeogenic flux which is fuelled by the acetyl-CoA produced from the acetate activation. Thus, when growth relies on a respiratory metabolism such as that on ethanol or acetate, SIR2 inactivation favours growth. Moreover, in the chronological aging paradigm, the increase in the acetate metabolism implies that sir2Δ cells avoid acetic acid accumulation in the medium and deplete ethanol faster; consequently pro-aging extracellular signals are reduced. In addition, an enhanced gluconeogenesis allows replenishment of intracellular glucose stores which may be useful for better long-term cell survival.
- Oct 2011
A systematic investigation on the effects of auxotrophies on the performance of yeast in aerated fed-batch reactor was carried out. Six isogenic strains from the CEN.PK family of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, one prototroph and five auxotrophs, were grown in aerated fed-batch reactor using the same operative conditions and a proper nutritional supplementation. The performance of the strains, in terms of final biomass decreased with increasing the number of auxotrophies. Auxotrophy for leucine exerted a profound negative effect on the performance of the strains. Accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the cells of the strain carrying four auxotrophies and its significant viability loss, were indicative of an oxidative stress response induced by exposure of cells to the environmental conditions. The mathematical model was fundamental to highlight how the carbon flux, depending on the number and type of auxotrophies, was diverted towards the production of increasingly large quantities of energy for maintenance.
CK2 is a highly conserved protein kinase involved in different cellular processes, which shows a higher activity in actively proliferating mammalian cells and in various types of cancer and cancer cell lines. We recently demonstrated that CK2 activity is strongly influenced by growth rate in yeast cells as well. Here, we extend our previous findings and show that, in cells grown in either glucose or ethanol-supplemented media, CK2 presents no alteration in Km for both the ATP and the peptide substrate RRRADDSDDDDD, while a significant increase in V max is observed. In chemostat-grown cells, no difference of CK2 activity was observed in cells grown at the same dilution rate in media supplemented with either ethanol or glucose, excluding the contribution of carbon metabolism on CK2 activity. By using the eIF2β-derived peptide, which can be phosphorylated by the holoenzyme but not by the free catalytic subunits, we show that the holoenzyme activity requires the concurrent presence of both β and β′ encoding genes. Finally, conditions of nitrogen deprivation leading to a G0-like arrest result in a decrease of total CK2 activity, but have no effect on the activity of the holoenzyme. These findings newly indicate a regulatory role of β and β′ subunits of CK2 in the nutrient response.
The modification of enzyme cofactor concentrations can be used as a method for both studying and engineering metabolism. We varied Saccharomyces cerevisiae mitochondrial NAD levels by altering expression of its specific mitochondrial carriers. Changes in mitochondrial NAD levels affected the overall cellular concentration of this coenzyme and the cellular metabolism. In batch culture, a strain with a severe NAD depletion in mitochondria succeeded in growing, albeit at a low rate, on fully respiratory media. Although the strain increased the efficiency of its oxidative phosphorylation, the ATP concentration was low. Under the same growth conditions, a strain with a mitochondrial NAD concentration higher than that of the wild type similarly displayed a low cellular ATP level, but its growth rate was not affected. In chemostat cultures, when cellular metabolism was fully respiratory, both mutants showed low biomass yields, indicative of impaired energetic efficiency. The two mutants increased their glycolytic fluxes, and as a consequence, the Crabtree effect was triggered at lower dilution rates. Strikingly, the mutants switched from a fully respiratory metabolism to a respirofermentative one at the same specific glucose flux as that of the wild type. This result seems to indicate that the specific glucose uptake rate and/or glycolytic flux should be considered one of the most important independent variables for establishing the long-term Crabtree effect. In cells growing under oxidative conditions, bioenergetic efficiency was affected by both low and high mitochondrial NAD availability, which suggests the existence of a critical mitochondrial NAD concentration in order to achieve optimal mitochondrial functionality.
- Jul 2010
CK2 is a highly conserved protein kinase controlling different cellular processes. It shows a higher activity in proliferating mammalian cells, in various types of cancer cell lines and tumors. The findings presented herein provide the first evidence of an in vivo modulation of CK2 activity, dependent on growth rate, in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In fact, CK2 activity, assayed on nuclear extracts, is shown to increase in exponential growing batch cultures at faster growth rate, while localization of catalytic and regulatory subunits is not nutritionally modulated. Differences in intracellular CK2 activity of glucose- and ethanol-grown cells appear to depend on both increase in molecule number and k(cat). Also in chemostat cultures nuclear CK2 activity is higher in faster growing cells providing the first unequivocal demonstration that growth rate itself can affect CK2 activity in a eukaryotic organism.
- May 2009
A cultural system, aimed at the production of human interleukin-1β (IL-1β) with cells of a non-conventional yeast transformed for interleukin expression, Zygosaccharomyces bailii [pZ3KlIL-1β], was realized. Interleukin production was accomplished in a reactor operating in fed-batch mode to avoid sugar overflow metabolism, limitations with respect to oxygen transfer, and achieve high cell density. Batch operation mode was employed only to characterise the producer strain and experimentally estimate kinetic parameters. In parallel with strain characterisation, a mathematical model was developed. The comparison between simulations and experimental data allowed to evidence the importance of physiological state of inoculum, being only a fermentative one suitable to sustain a given exponential growth. The respiratory capacity of Z. bailii [pZ3KlIL-1β], resulted to be affected by stirring. The theoretical and experimental approach allowed the bioprocess optimisation.
The control of promoter activity by oxygen availability appears to be an intriguing system for heterologous protein production. In fact, during cell growth in a bioreactor, an oxygen shortage is easily obtained simply by interrupting the air supply. The purpose of our work was to explore the possible use of hypoxic induction of the KlPDC1 promoter to direct heterologous gene expression in yeast. In the present study, an expression system based on the KlPDC1 promoter was developed and characterized. Several heterologous proteins, differing in size, origin, localization, and posttranslational modification, were successfully expressed in Kluyveromyces lactis under the control of the wild type or a modified promoter sequence, with a production ratio between 4 and more than 100. Yields were further optimized by a more accurate control of hypoxic physiological conditions. Production of as high as 180 mg/liter of human interleukin-1β was obtained, representing the highest value obtained with yeasts in a lab-scale bioreactor to date. Moreover, the transferability of our system to related yeasts was assessed. The lacZ gene from Escherichia coli was cloned downstream of the KlPDC1 promoter in order to get β-galactosidase activity in response to induction of the promoter. A centromeric vector harboring this expression cassette was introduced in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and in Zygosaccharomyces bailii, and effects of hypoxic induction were measured and compared to those already observed in K. lactis cells. Interestingly, we found that the induction still worked in Z. bailii; thus, this promotor constitutes a possible inducible system for this new nonconventional host.
- May 2005
The optimisation and scale-up of a specific protein production process have to take into account cultivation conditions as well as cell physiology of growth and the influence of foreign protein expression on host cell metabolism. The ability of Zygosaccharomyces bailii to tolerate high sugar concentrations as well as high temperatures and acidic environments renders this "non-conventional" yeast suitable for the development of biotechnological processes like heterologous protein production. This work addresses the production of human interleukin-1beta by a recombinant Z. bailii strain. We found that the heterologous protein production causes some modifications of the Z. bailii carbon metabolism, leading to a reduced biomass yield. The other important factor is the dependence of the recombinant IL-1beta production/secretion on the growth rate. Among the cultivation strategies studied, the most appropriate in terms of production and productivity was the fed-batch mode.
- Feb 2004
Molecular tools for the production of heterologous proteins and metabolic engineering applications of the non-conventional yeast Zygosaccharomyces bailii were developed. The combination of Z. bailii's resistance to relatively high temperature, osmotic pressure and low pH values, with a high specific growth rate renders this yeast potentially interesting for exploitation for biotechnological purposes as well as for the understanding of the biological phenomena and mechanisms underlying the respective resistances. Looking forward to these potential applications, here we present the tools required for the production and the secretion of different heterologous proteins, and one example of a metabolic engineering application of this non-conventional yeast, employing the newly developed molecular tools.
- Jan 2004
A detailed analysis of the cell size, monitored as protein content, has been performed in glucose-limited continuous cultures, so as to obtain the values of the average protein content for various subpopulations at different cell cycle stages, as a function of the growth rate. Glucose metabolism appears to affect cell size, since there is an increase of the average protein content of the population when cells produce ethanol above the critical dilution rate. If the production of ethanol is forced at low growth rates by the addition of formate, the average protein content increases. These results indicate a link between glucose metabolism and cell size in budding yeast, as observed for mammalian cells.
A high yield of lactic acid per gram of glucose consumed and the absence of additional metabolites in the fermentation broth are two important goals of lactic acid production by microrganisms. Both purposes have been previously approached by using aKluyveromyces lactis yeast strain lacking the single pyruvate decarboxylase gene (KlPDC1) and transformed with the heterologous lactate dehydrogenase gene (LDH). The LDH gene was placed under the control theKlPDC1 promoter, which has allowed very high levels of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activity, due to the absence of autoregulation by KlPdc1p. The maximal yield obtained was 0.58 g g−1, suggesting that a large fraction of the glucose consumed was not converted into pyruvate. In a different attempt to redirect pyruvate flux toward homolactic fermentation, we usedK. lactis LDH transformant strains deleted of the pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) E1α subunit gene. A great process improvement was obtained by the use of producing strains lacking both PDH and pyruvate decarboxylase activities, which showed yield levels of as high as 0.85 g g−1 (maximum theoretical yield, 1 g g−1), and with high LDH activity.
The absence of triose phosphate isomerase activity causes an accumulation of only one of the two trioses, dihydroxyacetone phosphate, and this produces a shift in the final product of glucose catabolism from ethanol to glycerol (Compagno et al., 1996). Alterations of glucose metabolism imposed by the deletion of the TPI1 gene in Saccharomyces cerevisiae were studied in batch and continuous cultures. The Deltatpi1 null mutant was unable to grow on glucose as the sole carbon source. The addition of ethanol or acetate in media containing glucose, but also raffinose or galactose, relieved this effect in batch cultivation, suggesting that the Crabtree effect is not the primary cause for the mutant's impaired growth on glucose. The addition of an energy source like formic acid restored glucose utilization, suggesting that a NADH/energy shortage in the Deltatpi1 mutant could be a cause of the impaired growth on glucose. The amount of glycerol production in the Deltatpi1 mutant could represent a good indicator of the fraction of carbon source channelled through glycolysis. Data obtained in continuous cultures on mixed substrates indicated that different contributions of glycolysis and gluconeogenesis, as well as of the HMP pathway, to glucose utilization by the Deltatpi1 mutant may occur in relation to the fraction of ethanol present in the media.
In order to keep subscribers up-to-date with the latest developments in their field, this current awareness service is provided by John Wiley & Sons and contains newly-published material on yeasts. Each bibliography is divided into 10 sections. 1 Books, Reviews & Symposia; 2 General; 3 Biochemistry; 4 Biotechnology; 5 Cell Biology; 6 Gene Expression; 7 Genetics; 8 Physiology; 9 Medical Mycology; 10 Recombinant DNA Technology. Within each section, articles are listed in alphabetical order with respect to author. If, in the preceding period, no publications are located relevant to any one of these headings, that section will be omitted. (4 weeks journals - search completed 7th Mar. 2001)
We studied the secretion of recombinant human insulin-like growth factor 1 (rhIGF-1) from transformed yeast cells. The hIGF-1gene was fused to the mating factor α prepro- leader sequence under the control of the constitutive ACT1 promoter. We found that the inactivation of the GAS1 gene in the host strain led to a supersecretory phenotype yielding a considerable increase, from 8 to 55 mg/liter, in rhIGF-1 production.
We have developed a novel flow cytometric procedure that allows determinations of properties of protein excretion in the growth medium on a cell-by-cell basis in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The procedure is based on labelling of a periplasmically secreted protein with antibodies conjugated to a fluorescent marker such as fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC). The staining conditions did not perturb cell growth after resuspension of stained cells in growth medium. Decrease in fluorescence was found to correlate with excretion of glucoamylase into the growth medium. The analysis of the staining pattern over time provides information on the behaviour of individual cells belonging to different cell-cycle phases and can be used to calculate the specific excretion rate of the overall population.
A genetic and analytical methodology was developed based on a green fluorescent mutant protein (GfpS65T) that allows the real-time quantification of gene expression in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Using the UASGAL1–10/CYC1 promoter and plasmids that are maintained in different copy numbers per cell, wild-type GFP and mutant GFPS65T were expressed in low to high concentration. Flow cytometric analysis was then applied to directly quantify Gfp(S65T) (both wild type and mutant protein) expression at the single-cell level, and to indirectly measure the concentrations of non-fluorescent apoGfp(S65T) and fluorescent Gfp(S65T), which is autocatalytically formed from the apoprotein. Kinetics of apoGfp(S65T)/Gfp(S65T) conversion during aerobic growth showed that the time required for complete apoGfp(S65T) conversion is limited only by the amount of apoprotein that is expressed. When GFPS65T was expressed in single copy, the apoprotein did not accumulate and was instantly converted into its fluorescent form. The data indicate that an instant quantification of gene expression in S. cerevisiae is achievable based on GfpS65T, even if the gene is transcribed from a very strong promoter.
- Jul 2000
To select a Saccharomyces cerevisiae reference strain amenable to experimental techniques used in (molecular) genetic, physiological and biochemical engineering research, a variety of properties were studied in four diploid, prototrophic laboratory strains. The following parameters were investigated: 1) maximum specific growth rate in shake-flask cultures; 2) biomass yields on glucose during growth on defined media in batch cultures and steady-state chemostat cultures under controlled conditions with respect to pH and dissolved oxygen concentration; 3) the critical specific growth rate above which aerobic fermentation becomes apparent in glucose-limited accelerostat cultures; 4) sporulation and mating efficiency; and 5) transformation efficiency via the lithium-acetate, bicine, and electroporation methods. On the basis of physiological as well as genetic properties, strains from the CEN.PK family were selected as a platform for cell-factory research on the stoichiometry and kinetics of growth and product formation.
Interest in the production of L-(+)-lactic acid is presently growing in relation to its applications in the synthesis of biodegradable polymer materials. With the aim of obtaining efficient production and high productivity, we introduced the bovine L-lactate dehydrogenase gene (LDH) into a wild-type Kluyveromyces lactis yeast strain. The observed lactic acid production was not satisfactory due to the continued coproduction of ethanol. A further restructuring of the cellular metabolism was obtained by introducing the LDH gene into a K. lactis strain in which the unique pyruvate decarboxylase gene had been deleted. With this modified strain, in which lactic fermentation substituted completely for the pathway leading to the production of ethanol, we obtained concentrations, productivities, and yields of lactic acid as high as 109 g liter(-1), 0.91 g liter(-1) h(-1), and 1.19 mol per mole of glucose consumed, respectively. The organic acid was also produced at pH levels lower than those usual for bacterial processes.
- Mar 1999
Introduction of the Lactobacillus casei lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) gene into Saccharomyces cerevisiae under the control of the TPI1 promoter yielded high LDH levels in batch and chemostat cultures. LDH expression did not affect the dilution rate above which respiro-fermentative metabolism occurred (Dc) in aerobic, glucose-limited chemostats. Above Dc, the LDH-expressing strain produced both ethanol and lactate, but its overall fermentation rate was the same as in wild-type cultures. Exposure of respiring, LDH-expressing cultures to glucose excess triggered simultaneous ethanol and lactate production. However, the specific glucose consumption rate was not affected, indicating that NADH reoxidation does not control glycolytic flux under these conditions.
- May 1995
Interesting challenges from metabolically engineered Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells arise from the opportunity to obtain yeast strains useful for the production of chemical(s). In this paper, we describe the accumulation of lactic acid in the culture medium of growing, engineered yeast cells expressing a mammalian lactate dehydrogenase gene (LDH-A). High and reproducible productions (20 g/L) and productivities (up to 11 g/L/h) of lactic acid have been obtained by modulating the physiological growth conditions. Since yeast cells are acid tolerant and survive at very low pH values, the production of lactate can be avoided. In perspective, the approaches described could be useful for the production of lactic acid, outflanking the problems related to the synthesis from bacteria cells. In fact, during industrial productions, there is an inhibitory effect on the metabolic activities of the growing bacteria (i.e., Lactobacillus spp.) caused by the acid produced and by the low pH value. Thus, strategies to prevent the lowering of pH are conventional operations. These processes allow the production of lactate(s) and require the purification of the acid from its salt. The biotechnological implications of this study are also discussed.
- Jan 1994
- Advances in Bioprocess Engineering
The budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a safe and widely used host for the production of heterologous proteins. Nowadays, interesting perspectives from r-DNA applications also arise from the opportunity to modify metabolic pathways, yielding engineering yeast cells useful for chemicals production. In this paper we describe yeast strains that express the bovine muscle lactic dehydrogenase gene (LDH-A). These strains allow to carry out lactic acid fermentations with both high production (20 gl−1) and high productivity (11 g l−1 h−1) of lactic acid.
- Jun 1993
Transformed Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells overexpressing the Escherichia coli LacZ gene and the transcriptional activator GAL4, release in the external medium a fraction (from 2 to 10%) of the total beta-galactosidase activity (Porro et al., 1992b). It is known that this abnormal release of a cytoplasmic protein is related to a partial cell lysis of the yeast population, which is likely to be caused by the overexpression of the transcriptional activator GAL4. In the present paper we have characterized the GAL4-induced cell lysis phenomenon. The expression of the GAL4 gene causes morphological modifications and alteration of the cell size distribution. The cell lysis is independent of the expression of the heterologous LacZ gene and occurs in a specific subpopulation of cells (the parent cells) independently of the genealogical age, growth phase conditions and cell cycle progression. Lysis is preceded by a loss of the plasma membrane integrity as indicated by the uptake of ethidium bromide in unfixed cells. Computer analysis of simulated protein distributions indicates that cell lysis takes place in a sizeable aliquot (about 50%) of the parent cells, therefore profoundly altering the age structure of the population.
- Jan 1993
In the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae the cell wall, mainly composed of mannoproteins and glucans, constitutes a barrier to protein excretion in the growth medium. In this paper we have studied the effects of different environmental parameters on excretion of Escherichia coli β-galactosidase obtained by exploiting the glucoamylase II signal sequence. Excretion of the unglycosylated β-galactosidase was detectable only in cells grown in rich medium, was affected by temperature (36°C > 30°C >> 24°C) and slightly stimulated by reducing agents. On the contrary, glycosylated proteins, such as α-galactosidase and glucoamylase II, were excreted to a good extent under all tested conditions of medium composition, growth temperature and pH. These data indicate that optimization of environmental parameters may help the excretion of heterologous proteins, offering advantages for protein purification.