430342 Facilitating Unconventional Yeast Engineering for Biorenewables Production

Thursday, November 12, 2015: 1:30 PM
150D/E (Salt Palace Convention Center)
Mingfeng Cao, Meirong Gao and Zengyi Shao, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, IA

Many of the 1800 known yeast species have highly unusual metabolic, biosynthetic, physiological and fermentative capacities that are not possessed by model yeasts such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae.  Here we report our recent success in establishing the first stable expression platform for engineering Scheffersomyces stipitis, one of the species with the highest native capability for xylose fermentation.  The current expression plasmid is extremely unstable, being lost within 2 days of cultivation.  With the perfect integration of in silico prediction and library-based screening, we were able to isolate all eight centromere sequences from S. stipitis genome in a monthly manner.  The identified centromeres significantly enhanced the stability of the episomal vector, resulting in homogenous expression of target proteins and significant increase in production of valuable biochemicals.  Isolating a functional centromere in an efficient manner by far is still a missing piece from literature.  Immunoprecipitation with specific kinetochore protein antibodies is the predominant method, but suffers from the extensive experiment procedures and the prerequisite of antibody that needs to be developed for each species.  We are currently investigating the generalizability of our hybrid approach in rapid centromere identification in a broad spectrum of unconventional yeasts.  In contrast to the previous developments in this field that were fairly scattered and short of systematicness, we are ambitious to elucidate design principles and establish platform technologies to enable rapid functional modifications of a series of high-potential yeast species.

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