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Growth and fermentation of D-xylose by Saccharomyces cerevisiae expressing a novel D-xylose isomerase originating from the bacterium Prevotella ruminicola TC2-24

Ronald E Hector, Bruce S Dien, Michael A Cotta, Jeffrey A Mertens
Biotechnology for biofuels 2013 v.6 no.1 pp. 303
Piromyces, yeasts, xylose isomerase, specific growth rate, rumen, intestinal microorganisms, genetic background, fermentation, ethanol, bacteria, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Prevotella ruminicola, ethanol production, gene overexpression, genetic engineering, rumen bacteria, xylose
BACKGROUND: Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains expressing D-xylose isomerase (XI) produce some of the highest reported ethanol yields from D-xylose. Unfortunately, most bacterial XIs that have been expressed in S. cerevisiae are either not functional, require additional strain modification, or have low affinity for D-xylose. This study analyzed several XIs from rumen and intestinal microorganisms to identify enzymes with improved properties for engineering S. cerevisiae for D-xylose fermentation. RESULTS: Four XIs originating from rumen and intestinal bacteria were isolated and expressed in a S. cerevisiae CEN.PK2-1C parental strain primed for D-xylose metabolism by over expression of its native D-xylulokinase. Three of the XIs were functional in S. cerevisiae, based on the strain’s ability to grow in D-xylose medium. The most promising strain, expressing the XI mined from Prevotella ruminicola TC2-24, was further adapted for aerobic and fermentative growth by serial transfers of D-xylose cultures under aerobic, and followed by microaerobic conditions. The evolved strain had a specific growth rate of 0.23 h⁻¹ on D-xylose medium, which is comparable to the best reported results for analogous S. cerevisiae strains including those expressing the Piromyces sp. E2 XI. When used to ferment D-xylose, the adapted strain produced 13.6 g/L ethanol in 91 h with a metabolic yield of 83% of theoretical. From analysis of the P. ruminicola XI, it was determined the enzyme possessed a V ₘₐₓ of 0.81 μmole/min/mg protein and a K ₘ of 34 mM. CONCLUSION: This study identifies a new xylose isomerase from the rumen bacterium Prevotella ruminicola TC2-24 that has one of the highest affinities and specific activities compared to other bacterial and fungal D-xylose isomerases expressed in yeast. When expressed in S. cerevisiae and used to ferment D-xylose, very high ethanol yield was obtained. This new XI should be a promising resource for constructing other D-xylose fermenting strains, including industrial yeast genetic backgrounds.