Conversion of lignocellulosic material to ethanol is a major challenge in second generation bio-fuel production by yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This report describes a novel strategy named "two-stage transcriptional reprogramming (TSTR)" in which key gene expression at both glucose and xylose fermentation phases is optimized in engineered S. cerevisiae. Through a combined genome-wide screening of stage-specific promoters and the balancing of the metabolic flux, ethanol yields and productivity from mixed sugars were significantly improved. In a medium containing 50g/L glucose and 50g/L xylose, the top-performing strain WXY12 rapidly consumed glucose within 12h and within 84h it consistently achieved an ethanol yield of 0.48g/g total sugar, which was 94% of the theoretical yield. WXY12 utilizes a KGD1 inducible promoter to drive xylose metabolism, resulting in much higher ethanol yield than a reference strain using a strong constitutive PGK1 promoter. These promising results validate the TSTR strategy by synthetically regulating the xylose assimilation pathway towards efficient xylose fermentation.
Keywords: Ethanol; Saccharomyces cerevisiae; Two-stage transcription reprogramming; Xylose; Xylose reductase.
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