Enhanced isoprenoid production from xylose by engineered Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Suryang Kwak, Soo Rin Kim, Haiqing Xu, Guo Chang Zhang, Stephan Lane, Heejin Kim, Yong Su Jin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Saccharomyces cerevisiae has limited capabilities for producing fuels and chemicals derived from acetyl-CoA, such as isoprenoids, due to a rigid flux partition toward ethanol during glucose metabolism. Despite numerous efforts, xylose fermentation by engineered yeast harboring heterologous xylose metabolic pathways was not as efficient as glucose fermentation for producing ethanol. Therefore, we hypothesized that xylose metabolism by engineered yeast might be a better fit for producing non-ethanol metabolites. We indeed found that engineered S. cerevisiae on xylose showed higher expression levels of the enzymes involved in ethanol assimilation and cytosolic acetyl-CoA synthesis than on glucose. When genetic perturbations necessary for overproducing squalene and amorphadiene were introduced into engineered S. cerevisiae capable of fermenting xylose, we observed higher titers and yields of isoprenoids under xylose than glucose conditions. Specifically, co-overexpression of a truncated HMG1 (tHMG1) and ERG10 led to substantially higher squalene accumulation under xylose than glucose conditions. In contrast to glucose utilization producing massive amounts of ethanol regardless of aeration, xylose utilization allowed much less amounts of ethanol accumulation, indicating ethanol is simultaneously re-assimilated with xylose consumption and utilized for the biosynthesis of cytosolic acetyl-CoA. In addition, xylose utilization by engineered yeast with overexpression of tHMG1, ERG10, and ADS coding for amorphadiene synthase, and the down-regulation of ERG9 resulted in enhanced amorphadiene production as compared to glucose utilization. These results suggest that the problem of the rigid flux partition toward ethanol production in yeast during the production of isoprenoids and other acetyl-CoA derived chemicals can be bypassed by using xylose instead of glucose as a carbon source. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2017;114: 2581–2591.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2581-2591
Number of pages11
JournalBiotechnology and bioengineering
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2017


  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • amorphadiene
  • isoprenoid
  • squalene
  • xylose

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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