Novel Evolutionary Engineering Approach to Alter Substrate Specificity of Disaccharide Transporter Mal11 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

S.C. de Valk, R. Mans*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

A major challenge in the research of transport proteins is to understand how single amino acid residues contribute to their structure and biological function. Amino acid substitutions that result in a selective advantage in adaptive laboratory evolution experiments can provide valuable hints at their role in transport proteins. In this study, we applied an evolutionary engineering strategy to alter the substrate specificity of the proton-coupled disaccharide transporter Mal11 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which has affinity for sucrose, maltose and glucose. The introduction of MAL11 in a strain devoid of all other sugar transporters and disaccharide hydrolases restored growth on glucose but rendered the strain highly sensitive to the presence of sucrose or maltose. Evolution in glucose-limited continuous cultures with pulse-wise addition of a concentrated sucrose solution at increasing frequency resulted in the enrichment of spontaneous mutant cells that were less sensitive to the presence of sucrose and maltose. Sequence analysis showed that in each of the two independent experiments, three mutations occurred in MAL11, which were found responsible for the disaccharide-insensitive phenotype via reverse engineering. Our work demonstrates how laboratory evolution with proton-motive force-driven uptake of a non-metabolizable substrate can be a powerful tool to provide novel insights into the role of specific amino acid residues in the transport function of Mal11.
Original languageEnglish
Article number358
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Fungi
Volume8
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • sugar transport
  • counter-selection
  • proton symport
  • mutation
  • transport protein

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