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Data underlying research on expression of heterologous molybdenum-cofactor-biosynthesis and nitrate-assimilation genes enables nitrate utilization by Saccharomyces cerevisiae

posted on 02.12.2020, 10:17 by Jean-Marc Daran, T. (Thomas) Perli, Daan N. A. Vorm van der, Mats Wassink, Marcel van den Broek, Jack T. Pronk

Metabolic capabilities of cells are not only defined by their repertoire of enzymes and metabolites, but also by availability of enzyme cofactors. The molybdenum cofactor (Moco) is widespread among eukaryotes but absent from the industrial yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In this study, we identified 7 Moco biosynthesis genes in the non-conventional yeast Ogataea parapolymorpha by Spycas9-mediated mutational analysis and expressed them in S. cerevisiae. Functionality of the heterologously expressed Moco biosynthesis pathway in S. cerevisiae was assessed by co-expressing O. parapolymorpha nitrate-assimilation enzymes, including the Moco-dependent nitrate reductase. Following two-weeks of incubation, growth of the engineered S. cerevisiae was observed on nitrate as sole nitrogen source. Relative to the engineered, evolved nitrate-assimilating S. cerevisiae strains isolated from these cultures showed increased copy numbers of the heterologous genes, increased levels of the encoded proteins and a 5-fold higher nitrate-reductase activity in cell extracts. Growth at nM molybdate concentrations was enabled by co-expression of a Chlamydomonas reinhardtii high-affinity molybdate transporter. In serial batch cultures on nitrate-containing medium, a non-engineered S. cerevisiae was rapidly outcompeted by the spoilage yeast Brettanomyces bruxellensis. In contrast, an engineered and evolved nitrate-assimilating S. cerevisiae strains persisted during 35 generations of co-cultivation. This result indicates that the ability of engineered strains to use nitrate may be applicable to improve competitiveness industrial processes upon contamination with spoilage yeasts. Since over 50 Moco-dependent enzymes have been described, introduction of a functional Moco synthesis pathway offers interesting options to further broaden the biocatalytic repertoire of S. cerevisiae.


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TU Delft, Faculty Applied Sciences, Department of Biotechnology