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Enzyme Microb Technol. 2000 Jun 1;26(9-10):771-780.

Regulation of primary carbon metabolism in Kluyveromyces lactis.

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Institut für Genetik, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle, Halle, Germany


In the recent past, through advances in development of genetic tools, the budding yeast Kluyveromyces lactis has become a model system for studies on molecular physiology of so-called "Nonconventional Yeasts." The regulation of primary carbon metabolism in K. lactis differs markedly from Saccharomyces cerevisiae and reflects the dominance of respiration over fermentation typical for the majority of yeasts. The absence of aerobic ethanol formation in this class of yeasts represents a major advantage for the "cell factory" concept and large-scale production of heterologous proteins in K. lactis cells is being applied successfully. First insight into the molecular basis for the different regulatory strategies is beginning to emerge from comparative studies on S. cerevisiae and K. lactis. The absence of glucose repression of respiration, a high capacity of respiratory enzymes and a tight regulation of glucose uptake in K. lactis are key factors determining physiological differences to S. cerevisiae. A striking discrepancy exists between the conservation of regulatory factors and the lack of evidence for their functional significance in K. lactis. On the other hand, structurally conserved factors were identified in K. lactis in a new regulatory context. It seems that different physiological responses result from modified interactions of similar molecular modules.

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