Anaerobic industrial fermentation processes do not require aeration and intensive mixing and the accompanying cost savings are beneficial for production of chemicals and fuels. However, the free-energy conservation of fermentative pathways is often insufficient for the production and export of the desired compounds and/or for cellular growth and maintenance. To increase free-energy conservation during fermentation of the industrially relevant disaccharide sucrose by Saccharomyces cerevisiae, we first replaced the native yeast α-glucosidases by an intracellular sucrose phosphorylase from Leuconostoc mesenteroides (LmSPase). Subsequently, we replaced the native proton-coupled sucrose uptake system by a putative sucrose facilitator from Phaseolus vulgaris (PvSUF1). The resulting strains grew anaerobically on sucrose at specific growth rates of 0.09 ± 0.02 h−1 (LmSPase) and 0.06 ± 0.01 h−1 (PvSUF1, LmSPase). Overexpression of the yeast PGM2 gene, which encodes phosphoglucomutase, increased anaerobic growth rates on sucrose of these strains to 0.23 ± 0.01 h−1 and 0.08 ± 0.00 h−1, respectively. Determination of the biomass yield in anaerobic sucrose-limited chemostat cultures was used to assess the free-energy conservation of the engineered strains. Replacement of intracellular hydrolase with a phosphorylase increased the biomass yield on sucrose by 31%. Additional replacement of the native proton-coupled sucrose uptake system by PvSUF1 increased the anaerobic biomass yield by a further 8%, resulting in an overall increase of 41%. By experimentally demonstrating an energetic benefit of the combined engineering of disaccharide uptake and cleavage, this study represents a first step towards anaerobic production of compounds whose metabolic pathways currently do not conserve sufficient free-energy.
Bibliographical noteAccepted Author Manuscript
- Facilitated diffusion
- Free-energy conservation
- Yeast physiology