Heterologous protein expression and secretion in the non-conventional yeast Yarrowia lipolytica: a review

J Biotechnol. 2004 Apr 8;109(1-2):63-81. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiotec.2003.10.027.


The production of heterologous proteins is a research field of high interest, with both academic and commercial applications. Yeasts offer a number of advantages as host systems, and, among them, Yarrowia lipolytica appears as one of the most attractive. This non-conventional dimorphic yeast exhibits a remarkable regularity of performance in the efficient secretion of various heterologous proteins. This review presents the main characteristics of Y. lipolytica, and the genetic and molecular tools available in this yeast. A particular emphasis is given to newly developed tools such as efficient promoters, a non-homologous integration method, and an amplification system using defective selection markers. A table recapitulates the 42 heterologous proteins produced until now in Y. lipolytica. A few relevant examples are exposed in more detail, in order to illustrate some peculiar points of the Y. lipolytica physiology, and to offer a comparison with other production systems. This amount of data demonstrates the global reliability and versatility of Y. lipolytica as a host for heterologous production.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Genetic Vectors
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational / physiology
  • Recombinant Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Recombinant Proteins / genetics
  • Yarrowia / genetics*
  • Yarrowia / physiology


  • Recombinant Proteins