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Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2008 Sep;80(4):675-84. doi: 10.1007/s00253-008-1583-2. Epub 2008 Jul 16.

Expression of a heterologous xylose transporter in a Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain engineered to utilize xylose improves aerobic xylose consumption.

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Fermentation Biotechnology Research Unit, United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research, Peoria, IL 61604, USA.


The goal of this investigation was to determine the effect of a xylose transport system on glucose and xylose co-consumption as well as total xylose consumption in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We expressed two heterologous transporters from Arabidopsis thaliana in recombinant xylose-utilizing S. cerevisiae cells. Strains expressing the heterologous transporters were grown on glucose and xylose mixtures. Sugar consumption rates and ethanol concentrations were determined and compared to an isogenic control strain lacking the A. thaliana transporters. Expression of the transporters increased xylose uptake and xylose consumption up to 46% and 40%, respectively. Xylose co-consumption rates (prior to glucose depletion) were also increased by up to 2.5-fold compared to the control strain. Increased xylose consumption correlated with increased ethanol concentration and productivity. During the xylose/glucose co-consumption phase, strains expressing the transporters had up to a 70% increase in ethanol production rate. It was concluded that in these strains, xylose transport was a limiting factor for xylose utilization and that increasing xylose/glucose co-consumption is a viable strategy for improving xylose fermentation.

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