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FEMS Yeast Res. 2008 Nov;8(7):1164-74. doi: 10.1111/j.1567-1364.2008.00429.x. Epub 2008 Aug 22.

Overexpression of pyruvate decarboxylase in the yeast Hansenula polymorpha results in increased ethanol yield in high-temperature fermentation of xylose.

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Institute of Cell Biology, NAS of Ukraine, Lviv, Ukraine.


Improvement of xylose fermentation is of great importance to the fuel ethanol industry. The nonconventional thermotolerant yeast Hansenula polymorpha naturally ferments xylose to ethanol at high temperatures (48-50 degrees C). Introduction of a mutation that impairs ethanol reutilization in H. polymorpha led to an increase in ethanol yield from xylose. The native and heterologous (Kluyveromyces lactis) PDC1 genes coding for pyruvate decarboxylase were expressed at high levels in H. polymorpha under the control of the strong constitutive promoter of the glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase gene (GAPDH). This resulted in increased pyruvate decarboxylase activity and improved ethanol production from xylose. The introduction of multiple copies of the H. polymorpha PDC1 gene driven by the strong constitutive promoter led to a 20-fold increase in pyruvate decarboxylase activity and up to a threefold elevation of ethanol production.

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