Expression of Gre2p improves tolerance of engineered xylose-fermenting Saccharomyces cerevisiae to glycolaldehyde under xylose metabolism

Lahiru N. Jayakody, Timothy Lee Turner, Eun Ju Yun, In Iok Kong, Jing Jing Liu, Yong Su Jin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Engineered S. cerevisiae employing the xylose reductase pathway enables efficient xylose valorization to fuels and chemicals. However, toxicity of thermochemically pretreated biomass hydrolysate on S. cerevisiae is one of the key technical challenges to upgrade biomass-derived sugars including xylose and glucose into high-value products. We investigated the effect of glycolaldehyde, one of the biomass-derived highly toxic aldehyde compounds, and its combinatorial inhibitory effect with other major fermentation inhibitors commonly found in plant hydrolysate such as methylglyoxal, 5-HMF, furfural, vanillin, and acetic acid on engineered xylose-fermenting S. cerevisiae in xylose and/or glucose media. We elucidated that glycolaldehyde and methylglyoxal are the key inhibitory short-aliphatic aldehydes on engineered xylose-fermenting S. cerevisiae in xylose-containing medium. Indeed, the degree of toxicity of these tested fermentation inhibitors varies with the sole carbon source of the medium. We demonstrate that genome integration of an extra copy of autologous GRE2 with its native promotor substantially improved the toxic tolerance of engineered xylose-fermenting S. cerevisiae to major inhibitory compounds including glycolaldehyde in the xylose-containing medium, and xylose-rich, lignocellulosic hydrolysate derived from Miscanthus giganteus, and concurrently improved the ethanol fermentation profile. Outcomes of this study will aid the development of next-generation robust S. cerevisiae strains for efficient fermentation of hexose and pentose sugars found in biomass hydrolysate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8121-8133
Number of pages13
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018


  • Aldehydes toxicity
  • Glycolaldehyde
  • Gre2p
  • S. cerevisiae
  • Xylose

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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