July 19, 2019  |  

Exploiting members of the BAHD acyltransferase family to synthesize multiple hydroxycinnamate and benzoate conjugates in yeast.

BAHD acyltransferases, named after the first four biochemically characterized enzymes of the group, are plant-specific enzymes that catalyze the transfer of coenzyme A-activated donors onto various acceptor molecules. They are responsible for the synthesis in plants of a myriad of secondary metabolites, some of which are beneficial for humans either as therapeutics or as specialty chemicals such as flavors and fragrances. The production of pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and commodity chemicals using engineered microbes is an alternative, green route to energy-intensive chemical syntheses that consume petroleum-based precursors. However, identification of appropriate enzymes and validation of their functional expression in heterologous hosts is a prerequisite for the design and implementation of metabolic pathways in microbes for the synthesis of such target chemicals.For the synthesis of valuable metabolites in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, we selected BAHD acyltransferases based on their preferred donor and acceptor substrates. In particular, BAHDs that use hydroxycinnamoyl-CoAs and/or benzoyl-CoA as donors were targeted because a large number of molecules beneficial to humans belong to this family of hydroxycinnamate and benzoate conjugates. The selected BAHD coding sequences were synthesized and cloned individually on a vector containing the Arabidopsis gene At4CL5, which encodes a promiscuous 4-coumarate:CoA ligase active on hydroxycinnamates and benzoates. The various S. cerevisiae strains obtained for co-expression of At4CL5 with the different BAHDs effectively produced a wide array of valuable hydroxycinnamate and benzoate conjugates upon addition of adequate combinations of donors and acceptor molecules. In particular, we report here for the first time the production in yeast of rosmarinic acid and its derivatives, quinate hydroxycinnamate esters such as chlorogenic acid, and glycerol hydroxycinnamate esters. Similarly, we achieved for the first time the microbial production of polyamine hydroxycinnamate amides; monolignol, malate and fatty alcohol hydroxycinnamate esters; tropane alkaloids; and benzoate/caffeate alcohol esters. In some instances, the additional expression of Flavobacterium johnsoniae tyrosine ammonia-lyase (FjTAL) allowed the synthesis of p-coumarate conjugates and eliminated the need to supplement the culture media with 4-hydroxycinnamate.We demonstrate in this study the effectiveness of expressing members of the plant BAHD acyltransferase family in yeast for the synthesis of numerous valuable hydroxycinnamate and benzoate conjugates.


July 19, 2019  |  

Contrasting evolutionary genome dynamics between domesticated and wild yeasts.

Structural rearrangements have long been recognized as an important source of genetic variation, with implications in phenotypic diversity and disease, yet their detailed evolutionary dynamics remain elusive. Here we use long-read sequencing to generate end-to-end genome assemblies for 12 strains representing major subpopulations of the partially domesticated yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and its wild relative Saccharomyces paradoxus. These population-level high-quality genomes with comprehensive annotation enable precise definition of chromosomal boundaries between cores and subtelomeres and a high-resolution view of evolutionary genome dynamics. In chromosomal cores, S. paradoxus shows faster accumulation of balanced rearrangements (inversions, reciprocal translocations and transpositions), whereas S. cerevisiae accumulates unbalanced rearrangements (novel insertions, deletions and duplications) more rapidly. In subtelomeres, both species show extensive interchromosomal reshuffling, with a higher tempo in S. cerevisiae. Such striking contrasts between wild and domesticated yeasts are likely to reflect the influence of human activities on structural genome evolution.


July 19, 2019  |  

Iterative optimization of xylose catabolism in Saccharomyces cerevisiae using combinatorial expression tuning.

A common challenge in metabolic engineering is rapidly identifying rate-controlling enzymes in heterologous pathways for subsequent production improvement. We demonstrate a workflow to address this challenge and apply it to improving xylose utilization in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. For eight reactions required for conversion of xylose to ethanol, we screened enzymes for functional expression in S. cerevisiae, followed by a combinatorial expression analysis to achieve pathway flux balancing and identification of limiting enzymatic activities. In the next round of strain engineering, we increased the copy number of these limiting enzymes and again tested the eight-enzyme combinatorial expression library in this new background. This workflow yielded a strain that has a ~70% increase in biomass yield and ~240% increase in xylose utilization. Finally, we chromosomally integrated the expression library. This library enriched for strains with multiple integrations of the pathway, which likely were the result of tandem integrations mediated by promoter homology. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2017;114: 1301-1309. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.© 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


July 7, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequence and comparative genomics of the probiotic yeast Saccharomyces boulardii.

The probiotic yeast, Saccharomyces boulardii (Sb) is known to be effective against many gastrointestinal disorders and antibiotic-associated diarrhea. To understand molecular basis of probiotic-properties ascribed to Sb we determined the complete genomes of two strains of Sb i.e. Biocodex and unique28 and the draft genomes for three other Sb strains that are marketed as probiotics in India. We compared these genomes with 145 strains of S. cerevisiae (Sc) to understand genome-level similarities and differences between these yeasts. A distinctive feature of Sb from other Sc is absence of Ty elements Ty1, Ty3, Ty4 and associated LTR. However, we could identify complete Ty2 and Ty5 elements in Sb. The genes for hexose transporters HXT11 and HXT9, and asparagine-utilization are absent in all Sb strains. We find differences in repeat periods and copy numbers of repeats in flocculin genes that are likely related to the differential adhesion of Sb as compared to Sc. Core-proteome based taxonomy places Sb strains along with wine strains of Sc. We find the introgression of five genes from Z. bailii into the chromosome IV of Sb and wine strains of Sc. Intriguingly, genes involved in conferring known probiotic properties to Sb are conserved in most Sc strains.


July 7, 2019  |  

HINGE: long-read assembly achieves optimal repeat resolution.

Long-read sequencing technologies have the potential to produce gold-standard de novo genome assemblies, but fully exploiting error-prone reads to resolve repeats remains a challenge. Aggressive approaches to repeat resolution often produce misassemblies, and conservative approaches lead to unnecessary fragmentation. We present HINGE, an assembler that seeks to achieve optimal repeat resolution by distinguishing repeats that can be resolved given the data from those that cannot. This is accomplished by adding “hinges” to reads for constructing an overlap graph where only unresolvable repeats are merged. As a result, HINGE combines the error resilience of overlap-based assemblers with repeat-resolution capabilities of de Bruijn graph assemblers. HINGE was evaluated on the long-read bacterial data sets from the NCTC project. HINGE produces more finished assemblies than Miniasm and the manual pipeline of NCTC based on the HGAP assembler and Circlator. HINGE also allows us to identify 40 data sets where unresolvable repeats prevent the reliable construction of a unique finished assembly. In these cases, HINGE outputs a visually interpretable assembly graph that encodes all possible finished assemblies consistent with the reads, while other approaches such as the NCTC pipeline and FALCON either fragment the assembly or resolve the ambiguity arbitrarily.© 2017 Kamath et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.


July 7, 2019  |  

Genome sequences of Cyberlindnera fabianii 65, Pichia kudriavzevii 129, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae 131 isolated from fermented masau fruits in Zimbabwe.

Cyberlindnera fabianii 65, Pichia kudriavzevii 129, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae 131 have been isolated from the microbiota of fermented masau fruits. C. fabianii and P. kudriavzevii especially harbor promising features for biotechnology and food applications. Here, we present the draft annotated genome sequences of these isolates. Copyright © 2017 van Rijswijck et al.


July 7, 2019  |  

Construction of efficient xylose-fermenting Saccharomyces cerevisiae through a synthetic isozyme system of xylose reductase from Scheffersomyces stipitis.

Engineered Saccharomyces cerevisiae has been used for ethanol production from xylose, the abundant sugar in lignocellulosic hydrolyzates. Development of engineered S. cerevisiae able to utilize xylose effectively is crucial for economical and sustainable production of fuels. To this end, the xylose-metabolic genes (XYL1, XYL2 and XYL3) from Scheffersomyces stipitis have been introduced into S. cerevisiae. The resulting engineered S. cerevisiae strains, however, often exhibit undesirable phenotypes such as slow xylose assimilation and xylitol accumulation. This work was undertaken to construct an improved xylose-fermenting strain by developing a synthetic isozyme system of xylose reductase (XR). The DXS strain having both wild XR and mutant XR showed low xylitol accumulation and fast xylose consumption compared to the engineered strains expressing only one type of XRs, resulting in improved ethanol yield and productivity. These results suggest that the introduction of the XR-based synthetic isozyme system is a promising strategy to develop efficient xylose-fermenting strains. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


July 7, 2019  |  

The dynamic three-dimensional organization of the diploid yeast genome.

The budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a long-standing model for the three-dimensional organization of eukaryotic genomes. However, even in this well-studied model, it is unclear how homolog pairing in diploids or environmental conditions influence overall genome organization. Here, we performed high-throughput chromosome conformation capture on diverged Saccharomyces hybrid diploids to obtain the first global view of chromosome conformation in diploid yeasts. After controlling for the Rabl-like orientation using a polymer model, we observe significant homolog proximity that increases in saturated culture conditions. Surprisingly, we observe a localized increase in homologous interactions between the HAS1-TDA1 alleles specifically under galactose induction and saturated growth. This pairing is accompanied by relocalization to the nuclear periphery and requires Nup2, suggesting a role for nuclear pore complexes. Together, these results reveal that the diploid yeast genome has a dynamic and complex 3D organization.


July 7, 2019  |  

Glycolytic functions are conserved in the genome of the wine yeast Hanseniaspora uvarum, and pyruvate kinase limits its capacity for alcoholic fermentation.

Hanseniaspora uvarum (anamorph Kloeckera apiculata) is a predominant yeast on wine grapes and other fruits and has a strong influence on wine quality, even when Saccharomyces cerevisiae starter cultures are employed. In this work, we sequenced and annotated approximately 93% of the H. uvarum genome. Southern and synteny analyses were employed to construct a map of the seven chromosomes present in a type strain. Comparative determinations of specific enzyme activities within the fermentative pathway in H. uvarum and S. cerevisiae indicated that the reduced capacity of the former yeast for ethanol production is caused primarily by an ~10-fold-lower activity of the key glycolytic enzyme pyruvate kinase. The heterologous expression of the encoding gene, H. uvarumPYK1 (HuPYK1), and two genes encoding the phosphofructokinase subunits, HuPFK1 and HuPFK2, in the respective deletion mutants of S. cerevisiae confirmed their functional homology.IMPORTANCEHanseniaspora uvarum is a predominant yeast species on grapes and other fruits. It contributes significantly to the production of desired as well as unfavorable aroma compounds and thus determines the quality of the final product, especially wine. Despite this obvious importance, knowledge on its genetics is scarce. As a basis for targeted metabolic modifications, here we provide the results of a genomic sequencing approach, including the annotation of 3,010 protein-encoding genes, e.g., those encoding the entire sugar fermentation pathway, key components of stress response signaling pathways, and enzymes catalyzing the production of aroma compounds. Comparative analyses suggest that the low fermentative capacity of H. uvarum compared to that of Saccharomyces cerevisiae can be attributed to low pyruvate kinase activity. The data reported here are expected to aid in establishing H. uvarum as a non-Saccharomyces yeast in starter cultures for wine and cider fermentations. Copyright © 2017 American Society for Microbiology.


July 7, 2019  |  

Genome sequence of Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain Kagoshima No. 2, used for Brewing the Japanese distilled spirit Shochu.

Here, we report a draft genome sequence of Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain Kagoshima no. 2, which is used for brewing shochu, a traditional distilled spirit in Japan. The genome data will facilitate an understanding of the evolutional traits and genetic background related to the characteristic features of strain Kagoshima no. 2. Copyright © 2017 Mori et al.


July 7, 2019  |  

Genome sequence of the lager-brewing yeast Saccharomyces sp. strain M14, used in the high-gravity brewing industry in China.

Lager-brewing yeasts are mainly used for the production of lager beers. Illumina and PacBio-based sequence analyses revealed an approximate genome size of 22.8 Mb, with a GC content of 38.98%, for the Chinese lager-brewing yeast Saccharomyces sp. strain M14. Based on ab initio prediction, 9,970 coding genes were annotated. Copyright © 2017 Liu et al.


July 7, 2019  |  

Meeting report on experimental approaches to evolution and ecology using yeast and other model systems.

The fourth EMBO-sponsored conference on Experimental Approaches to Evolution and Ecology Using Yeast and Other Model Systems (https://www.embl.de/training/events/2016/EAE16-01/), was held at the EMBL in Heidelberg, Germany, October 19-23, 2016. The conference was organized by Judith Berman (Tel Aviv University), Maitreya Dunham (University of Washington), Jun-Yi Leu (Academia Sinica), and Lars Steinmetz (EMBL Heidelberg and Stanford University). The meeting attracted ~120 researchers from 28 countries and covered a wide range of topics in the fields of genetics, evolutionary biology, and ecology with a unifying focus on yeast as a model system. Attendees enjoyed the Keith Haring inspired yeast florescence microscopy artwork (Figure 1), a unique feature of the meeting since its inception, and the one-minute flash talks that catalyzed discussions at two vibrant poster sessions. The meeting coincided with the 20th anniversary of the publication describing the sequence of the first eukaryotic genome, Saccharomyces cerevisiae (Goffeau et al. 1996). Many of the conference talks focused on important questions about what is contained in the genome, how genomes evolve, and the architecture and behavior of communities of phenotypically and genotypically diverse microorganisms. Here, we summarize highlights of the research talks around these themes. Nearly all presentations focused on novel findings, and we refer the reader to relevant manuscripts that have subsequently been published. Copyright © 2017, G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics.


July 7, 2019  |  

Single molecule sequencing-guided scaffolding and correction of draft assemblies.

Although single molecule sequencing is still improving, the lengths of the generated sequences are inevitably an advantage in genome assembly. Prior work that utilizes long reads to conduct genome assembly has mostly focused on correcting sequencing errors and improving contiguity of de novo assemblies.We propose a disassembling-reassembling approach for both correcting structural errors in the draft assembly and scaffolding a target assembly based on error-corrected single molecule sequences. To achieve this goal, we formulate a maximum alternating path cover problem. We prove that this problem is NP-hard, and solve it by a 2-approximation algorithm.Our experimental results show that our approach can improve the structural correctness of target assemblies in the cost of some contiguity, even with smaller amounts of long reads. In addition, our reassembling process can also serve as a competitive scaffolder relative to well-established assembly benchmarks.


July 7, 2019  |  

Complete genomic and transcriptional landscape analysis using third-generation sequencing: a case study of Saccharomyces cerevisiae CEN.PK113-7D.

Completion of eukaryal genomes can be difficult task with the highly repetitive sequences along the chromosomes and short read lengths of second-generation sequencing. Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain CEN.PK113-7D, widely used as a model organism and a cell factory, was selected for this study to demonstrate the superior capability of very long sequence reads for de novo genome assembly. We generated long reads using two common third-generation sequencing technologies (Oxford Nanopore Technology (ONT) and Pacific Biosciences (PacBio)) and used short reads obtained using Illumina sequencing for error correction. Assembly of the reads derived from all three technologies resulted in complete sequences for all 16 yeast chromosomes, as well as the mitochondrial chromosome, in one step. Further, we identified three types of DNA methylation (5mC, 4mC and 6mA). Comparison between the reference strain S288C and strain CEN.PK113-7D identified chromosomal rearrangements against a background of similar gene content between the two strains. We identified full-length transcripts through ONT direct RNA sequencing technology. This allows for the identification of transcriptional landscapes, including untranslated regions (UTRs) (5′ UTR and 3′ UTR) as well as differential gene expression quantification. About 91% of the predicted transcripts could be consistently detected across biological replicates grown either on glucose or ethanol. Direct RNA sequencing identified many polyadenylated non-coding RNAs, rRNAs, telomere-RNA, long non-coding RNA and antisense RNA. This work demonstrates a strategy to obtain complete genome sequences and transcriptional landscapes that can be applied to other eukaryal organisms.


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