The oleaginous yeast Lipomyces starkeyi is an intriguing lipid producer that can produce triacylglycerol (TAG), a feedstock for biodiesel production. We previously reported that the L. starkeyi mutant E15 with high levels of TAG production compared with the wild-type was efficiently obtained using Percoll density gradient centrifugation. However, considering its use for biodiesel production, it is necessary to further improve the lipid productivity of the mutant. In this study, we aimed to obtain mutants with better lipid productivity than E15, evaluate its lipid productivity, and analyze lipid synthesis-related gene expression in the wild-type and mutant strains. The mutants E15-11, E15-15, and E15-25 exhibiting higher lipid productivity than E15 were efficiently isolated from cells exposed to ultraviolet light using Percoll density gradient centrifugation. They exhibited approximately 4.5-fold higher lipid productivity than the wild-type on day 3. The obtained mutants did not exhibit significantly different fatty acid profiles than the wild-type and E15 mutant strains. E15-11, E15-15, and E15-25 exhibited higher expression of acyl-CoA synthesis- and Kennedy pathway-related genes than the wild-type and E15 mutant strains. Activation of the pentose phosphate pathway, which supplies NADPH, was also observed. These results suggested that the increased expression of acyl-CoA synthesis- and Kennedy pathway-related genes plays a vital role in lipid productivity in the oleaginous yeast L. starkeyi.
Keywords: Acyl-CoA; Lipomyces starkeyi; Oleaginous yeast; Triacylglycerol; UV mutagenesis.
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