Identification of a novel gene required for competitive growth at high temperature in the thermotolerant yeast Kluyveromyces marxianus
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2022

It is important to understand the basis of thermotolerance in yeasts to broaden their application in industrial biotechnology. The capacity to run bioprocesses at temperatures above 40 °C is of great interest but this is beyond the growth range of most of the commonly used yeast species. In contrast, some industrial yeasts such as Kluyveromyces marxianus can grow at temperatures of 45 °C or higher. Such species are valuable for direct use in industrial biotechnology and as a vehicle to study the genetic and physiological basis of yeast thermotolerance. In previous work, we reported that evolutionarily young genes disproportionately changed expression when yeast were growing under stressful conditions and postulated that such genes could be important for long-term adaptation to stress. Here, we tested this hypothesis in K. marxianus by identifying and studying species-specific genes that showed increased expression during high-temperature growth. Twelve such genes were identified and 11 were successfully inactivated using CRISPR-mediated mutagenesis. One gene, KLMX_70384, is required for competitive growth at high temperature, supporting the hypothesis that evolutionary young genes could play roles in adaptation to harsh environments. KLMX_70384 is predicted to encode an 83 aa peptide, and RNA sequencing and ribo-sequencing were used to confirm transcription and translation of the gene. The precise function of KLMX_70384 remains unknown but some features are suggestive of RNA-binding activity. The gene is located in what was previously considered an intergenic region of the genome, which lacks homologues in other yeasts or in databases. Overall, the data support the hypothesis that genes that arose de novo in K. marxianus after the speciation event that separated K. marxianus and K. lactis contribute to some of its unique traits.


non-conventional yeast

industrial biotechnology

ribosome profiling

genome annotation


Noemi Montini

University College Cork

Tyler Doughty

Chalmers, Biologi och bioteknik, Systembiologi

Iván Domenzain Del Castillo Cerecer

Chalmers, Biologi och bioteknik, Systembiologi

Darren A. Fenton

University College Cork

Pavel V. Baranov

University College Cork

Ronan Harrington

University College Cork

Jens B Nielsen

Chalmers, Biologi och bioteknik, Systembiologi

Verena Siewers

Chalmers, Biologi och bioteknik, Systembiologi

John P. Morrissey

University College Cork


1350-0872 (ISSN) 1465-2080 (eISSN)

Vol. 168 3



Bioinformatik och systembiologi






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