BackgroundDespite the latest advancements in metabolic engineering for genome editing and characterization of host performance, the successful development of robust cell factories used for industrial bioprocesses and accurate prediction of the behavior of microbial systems, especially when shifting from laboratory-scale to industrial conditions, remains challenging. To increase the probability of success of a scale-up process, data obtained from thoroughly performed studies mirroring cellular responses to typical large-scale stimuli may be used to derive crucial information to better understand potential implications of large-scale cultivation on strain performance. This study assesses the feasibility to employ a barcoded yeast deletion library to assess genome-wide strain fitness across a simulated industrial fermentation regime and aims to understand the genetic basis of changes in strain physiology during industrial fermentation, and the corresponding roles these genes play in strain performance.
ResultsWe find that mutant population diversity is maintained through multiple seed trains, enabling large scale fermentation selective pressures to act upon the community. We identify specific deletion mutants that were enriched in all processes tested in this study, independent of the cultivation conditions, which include MCK1, RIM11, MRK1, and YGK3 that all encode homologues of mammalian glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK-3). Ecological analysis of beta diversity between all samples revealed significant population divergence over time and showed feed specific consequences of population structure. Further, we show that significant changes in the population diversity during fed-batch cultivations reflect the presence of significant stresses. Our observations indicate that, for this yeast deletion collection, the selection of the feeding scheme which affects the accumulation of the fermentative by-product ethanol impacts the diversity of the mutant pool to a higher degree as compared to the pH of the culture broth. The mutants that were lost during the time of most extreme population selection suggest that specific biological processes may be required to cope with these specific stresses.
ConclusionsOur results demonstrate the feasibility of Bar-seq to assess fermentation associated stresses in yeast populations under industrial conditions and to understand critical stages of a scale-up process where variability emerges, and selection pressure gets imposed. Overall our work highlights a promising avenue to identify genetic loci and biological stress responses required for fitness under industrial conditions.