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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Physiological characterization and transcriptome analysis of Pichia pastoris reveals its response to lignocellulose-derived inhibitors.

  • Author(s): Paes, Barbara G;
  • Steindorff, Andrei Stecca;
  • Formighieri, Eduardo F;
  • Pereira, Ildinete Silva;
  • Almeida, João Ricardo M
  • et al.

The negative effects of lignocellulose-derived inhibitors such as acetic acid and furaldehydes on microbial metabolism constitute a significant drawback to the usage of biomass feedstocks for the production of fuels and chemicals. The yeast Pichia pastoris has shown a great biotechnological potential for producing heterologous proteins and renewable chemicals. Despite its relevance, the performance of P. pastoris in presence of lignocellulose-derived inhibitors remains unclear. In this work, our results show for the first time the dose-dependent response of P. pastoris to acetic acid, furaldehydes (HMF and furfural), and sugarcane biomass hydrolysate, both at physiological and transcriptional levels. The yeast was able to grow in synthetic media with up to 6 g.L-1 acetic acid, 1.75 g.L-1 furaldehydes or hydrolysate diluted to 10% (v/v). However, its metabolism was completely hindered in presence of hydrolysate diluted to 30% (v/v). Additionally, the yeast was capable to co-consume acetic acid and glucose. At the transcriptional level, P. pastoris response to lignocellulose-derived inhibitors relays on the up-regulation of genes related to transmembrane transport, oxidoreductase activities, RNA processing, and the repression of pathways related to biosynthetic processes and central carbon metabolism. These results demonstrate a polygenetic response that involves detoxification activities, and maintenance of energy and cellular homeostasis. In this context, ALD4, OYE3, QOR2, NTL100, YCT1, and PPR1 were identified as target genes to improve P. pastoris tolerance. Altogether, this work provides valuable insights into the P. pastoris stress tolerance, which can be useful to expand its use in different bioprocesses.

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