ENGINEERING GLUTATHIONE BIOSYNTHESIS TO ENHANCE REDOX ROBUSTNESS OF Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Conference contribution, 2014
The focus for biofuel production shifts to using lignocellulose biomass from forest and agricultural by-products since it does not compete with food and feed production. Polysaccharides must be pretreated to be made accessible to hydrolytic enzymes to generate monomeric sugars for the following fermentation. In this pretreatment step inhibitors of fermenting microorganisms are generated, mainly furan derivates, weak acids and phenolics. Although Saccharomyces cerevisiae is more robust than bacteria, there is demand for improvement and the development of novel yeast strains with increased inhibitor tolerance is highly desirable.
Furan derivates and other inhibitors have been shown to induce the formation of reactive oxygen species. Engineering of the redox metabolism of S. cerevisiae in terms of increasing the intracellular levels of glutathione by overexpressing glutathione synthetase GSH1 resulted in increased strain robustness in a simultaneous saccharification and fermentation (SSF) process. Cell survival and final ethanol concentrations were increased in the recombinant strains compared to the wild type in industrial media [Ask et al. 2013].
To show a correlation between the intracellular concentration of glutathione and the resulting effect on robustness, strains accumulating different amounts of glutathione will be created. GshF is a bi-functional enzyme found in several bacterial species, that catalyzes the formation of glutathione from its precursors without accumulation of the intermediate product γ- glutamylcysteine and without any relevant feedback inhibition. GshF will be overexpressed in a CEN.PK strain, followed by deletion of the native GSH1 and GSH2 enzymes catalyzing the two-step reaction in S. cerevisiae.