Being a microbial host for lignocellulosic biofuel production, Saccharomyces cerevisiae needs to be engineered to express a heterologous xylose pathway; however, it has been challenging to optimize the engineered strain for efficient and rapid fermentation of xylose. Deletion of PHO13 (Δpho13) has been reported to be a crucial genetic perturbation in improving xylose fermentation. A confirmed mechanism of the Δpho13 effect on xylose fermentation is that the Δpho13 transcriptionally activates the genes in the non-oxidative pentose phosphate pathway (PPP). In the current study, we found a couple of engineered strains, of which phenotypes were not affected by Δpho13 (Δpho13-negative), among many others we examined. Genome resequencing of the Δpho13-negative strains revealed that a loss-of-function mutation in GCR2 was responsible for the phenotype. Gcr2 is a global transcriptional factor involved in glucose metabolism. The results of RNA-seq confirmed that the deletion of GCR2 (Δgcr2) led to the upregulation of PPP genes as well as downregulation of glycolytic genes, and changes were more significant under xylose conditions than those under glucose conditions. Although there was no synergistic effect between Δpho13 and Δgcr2 in improving xylose fermentation, these results suggested that GCR2 is a novel knockout target in improving lignocellulosic ethanol production.
Keywords: GCR2; glucose repression; lignocellulosic biomass; pentose phosphate pathway; transcriptomics; yeast metabolic engineering.
Copyright © 2021 Shin, Park, Kim, Oh, Jeong, Florencia, Kim, Jin and Kim.