Enhancing the Heterologous Fructosyltransferase Activity of Kluyveromyces lactis: Developing a Scaled-Up Process and Abolishing Invertase by CRISPR/Cas9 Genome Editing

Front Bioeng Biotechnol. 2020 Nov 25;8:607507. doi: 10.3389/fbioe.2020.607507. eCollection 2020.


The enzymatic production of prebiotic fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) from sucrose involves fructosyltransferases (FFTs) and invertases, both of which catalyze forward (transferase) and reverse (hydrolysis) reactions. FOS yields can therefore be increased by favoring the forward reaction. We investigated process conditions that favored transferase activity in the yeast strain Kluyveromyces lactis GG799, which expresses a native invertase and a heterologous FFT from Aspergillus terreus. To maximize transferase activity while minimizing native invertase activity in a scaled-up process, we evaluated two reactor systems in terms of oxygen input capacity in relation to the cell dry weight. In the 0.5-L reactor, we found that galactose was superior to lactose for the induction of the LAC4 promoter, and we optimized the induction time and induction to carbon source ratio using a response surface model. Based on the critical parameter of oxygen supply, we scaled up the process to 7 L using geometric similarity and a higher oxygen transport rate, which boosted the transferase activity by 159%. To favor the forward reaction even more, we deleted the native invertase gene by CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing and compared the ΔInv mutant to the original production strain in batch and fed-batch reactions. In fed-batch mode, we found that the ΔInv mutant increased the transferase activity by a further 66.9%. The enhanced mutant strain therefore provides the basis for a highly efficient and scalable fed-batch process for the production of FOS.

Keywords: CRISPR/Cas9; Kluyveromyces lactis GG799; chemically-defined fermentation medium; fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS); fructosyltransferase (FFT); high-cell-density cultivation; prebiotic.