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Engineering Candida phangngensis—an oleaginous yeast from the Yarrowia clade—for enhanced detoxification of lignocellulose-derived inhibitors and lipid overproduction

Quarterman, Josh C, Slininger, Patricia J, Hector, Ronald E, Dien, Bruce S
FEMS yeast research 2018 v.18 no.8
Candida phangngensis, Panicum virgatum, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Yarrowia lipolytica, antibiotic resistance genes, biomass, carbon, engineering, fermentation, furfural, genetic engineering, genetic vectors, hydrolysates, phylogeny, triacylglycerols, yeasts
Candida phangngensis is an ascomycetous yeast and a phylogenetic relative of the industrial workhorse Yarrowia lipolytica. Here, we report that genetic tools already established for use in the latter organism—including promoters, expression vectors, antibiotic resistance genes, a transformation protocol, and the Cre/lox system for marker recycle—can be transferred to the newer member of the Yarrowia clade with little or no need for modifications. Using these tools, we engineered C. phangngensis for improved cellulosic lipid production by introducing two heterologous yeast genes. First, overexpression of Saccharomyces cerevisiae ADH6 enhanced in situ detoxification of aldehyde fermentation inhibitors that are generated during biomass pretreatment (e.g. furfural). Subsequently, Y. lipolytica DGA1 expression boosted lipid accumulation in C. phangngensis by pulling additional carbon flux into the triacylglycerol synthesis pathway. In acid-pretreated switchgrass hydrolysate cultures, the final engineered strain JQCP04 showed a 58% decrease in lag time and a 32% increase in lipid titer as compared to wild-type PT1–17. Furthermore, we expect that this study will generate new interest in the highly oleaginous yeast C. phangngensis, which is closely related to a safe, industrial species, and is shown here to be quite amenable for genetic manipulation.