Enhancing Yeast Mutations to Boost Carotenoid Production

Jim Crocker
3rd June, 2024

Enhancing Yeast Mutations to Boost Carotenoid Production

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Researchers at Osaka Metropolitan University enhanced β-carotene production in yeast using a novel mutagenesis technique
  • The top mutant strain, HP100_74, produced 37.6 mg/L of β-carotene, nearly double the parental strain's 20.1 mg/L
  • Increased expression of genes in glycolysis, the mevalonate pathway, and β-carotene synthesis pathways boosted production, while downregulation of the ERG9 gene reduced competition for resources
The biotechnological production of β-carotene, a valuable compound with applications in food and pharmaceuticals, has been a focal point of research. Researchers at Osaka Metropolitan University have made significant strides in enhancing β-carotene production using genetically engineered Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a species of yeast commonly employed in industrial processes[1]. This study builds on prior research and introduces a novel mutagenesis technique to further improve β-carotene yields. In previous studies, various methods were explored to enhance the robustness and productivity of S. cerevisiae. For instance, ethanol-tolerant mutants were developed to withstand harsh fermentation conditions, leading to improved bioethanol production[2]. Similarly, metabolic engineering strategies have been employed to convert renewable resources into valuable chemicals, demonstrating the versatility and potential of S. cerevisiae in biotechnological applications[3]. Additionally, efforts to increase the storage capacity and metabolic flux towards β-carotene production have shown promising results[4]. The current study by Osaka Metropolitan University aimed to further enhance β-carotene production by introducing point and structural mutations into a previously engineered β-carotene-producing yeast strain. This approach leverages the mutagenesis technique developed in earlier research, which allows for the efficient establishment of diverse mutants through targeted genetic modifications. The researchers introduced specific mutations into the yeast genome, resulting in several mutant strains with higher β-carotene production capacity than the parental strain. The top-performing mutant, designated as HP100_74, achieved a β-carotene production level of 37.6 mg/L, nearly doubling the output of the parental strain, which produced 20.1 mg/L. Gene expression analysis of the mutant strains revealed increased expression of multiple genes involved in key metabolic pathways, including glycolysis, the mevalonate pathway, and the β-carotene synthesis pathway. Glycolysis is the process by which glucose is broken down to produce energy, while the mevalonate pathway is crucial for the biosynthesis of isoprenoids, including β-carotene. The enhanced expression of these genes suggests that the introduced mutations effectively redirected the metabolic flux towards β-carotene production. Interestingly, the expression of ERG9, a gene involved in the ergosterol pathway, was decreased in the mutant strain. The ergosterol pathway competes with the β-carotene synthesis pathway for common precursors, and its downregulation likely contributed to the increased β-carotene production observed in the mutant. This finding aligns with previous research, which demonstrated that dynamically down-regulating ERG9 expression could divert metabolic flux towards β-carotene production[4]. The introduction of point and structural mutations represents a straightforward yet potent method for enhancing the production of target compounds in yeast. This technique holds promise for broader applications in metabolic engineering, enabling the efficient production of various chemicals using S. cerevisiae as a platform organism. In summary, the study conducted by Osaka Metropolitan University demonstrates a significant advancement in the biotechnological production of β-carotene. By applying a novel mutagenesis technique, the researchers successfully developed mutant yeast strains with enhanced β-carotene production capacity. This work builds on previous research efforts and highlights the potential of genetic engineering and metabolic pathway optimization in achieving high-yield production of valuable compounds.



Main Study

1) Induction of point and structural mutations in engineered yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae improve carotenoid production.

Published 3rd June, 2024

Journal: World journal of microbiology & biotechnology

Issue: Vol 40, Issue 7, Jun 2024

Related Studies

2) Ethanol-tolerant Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains isolated under selective conditions by over-expression of a proofreading-deficient DNA polymerase delta.


3) Metabolic engineering of Saccharomyces cerevisiae for the production of top value chemicals from biorefinery carbohydrates.


4) Dual regulation of lipid droplet-triacylglycerol metabolism and ERG9 expression for improved β-carotene production in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.


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