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Functional genomics for the oleaginous yeast Yarrowia lipolytica


Oleaginous yeasts are valuable systems for biosustainable production of hydrocarbon-based chemicals. Yarrowia lipolytica is one of the best characterized of these yeast with respect to genome annotation and flux analysis of metabolic processes. Nonetheless, progress is hampered by a dearth of genome-wide tools enabling functional genomics. In order to remedy this deficiency, we developed a library of Y. lipolytica insertion mutants via transposon mutagenesis. The Hermes DNA transposon was expressed to achieve saturation mutagenesis of the genome. Over 534,000 independent insertions were identified by next-generation sequencing. Poisson analysis of insertion density classified ~ 22% of genes as essential. As expected, most essential genes have homologs in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Schizosaccharomyces pombe, and the majority of those are also essential. As an obligate aerobe, Y. lipolytica has significantly more respiration - related genes that are classified as essential than do S. cerevisiae and S. pombe. Contributions of non-essential genes to growth in glucose and glycerol carbon sources were assessed and used to evaluate two recent genome-scale models of Y. lipolytica metabolism. Fluorescence-activated cell sorting identified mutants in which lipid accumulation is increased. Our findings provide insights into biosynthetic pathways, compartmentalization of enzymes, and distinct functions of paralogs. This functional genomic analysis of the oleaginous yeast Y. lipolytica provides an important resource for modeling, bioengineering, and design of synthetic minimalized strains of respiratory yeasts.

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