High-level β-carotene production from xylose by engineered Saccharomyces cerevisiae without overexpression of a truncated HMG1 (tHMG1)

Liang Sun, Christine A. Atkinson, Ye Gi Lee, Yong Su Jin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


β-Carotene is a natural pigment and health-promoting metabolite, and has been widely used in the nutraceutical, feed, and cosmetic industries. Here, we engineered a GRAS yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae to produce β-carotene from xylose, the second most abundant and inedible sugar component of lignocellulose biomass. Specifically, a β-carotene biosynthetic pathway containing crtYB, crtI, and crtE from Xanthophyllomyces dendrorhous was introduced into a xylose-fermenting S. cerevisiae. The resulting strain produced β-carotene from xylose at a titer threefold higher than from glucose. Interestingly, overexpression of tHMG1, which has been reported as a critical genetic perturbation to enhance metabolic fluxes in the mevalonate pathway and β-carotene production in yeast when glucose is used, did not further improve the production of β-carotene from xylose. Through fermentation profiling, metabolites analysis, and transcriptional studies, we found the advantages of using xylose as a carbon source, instead of glucose, for β-carotene production to be a more respiratory feature of xylose consumption, a larger cytosolic acetyl-CoA pool, and an upregulated expression level of rate-limiting genes in the β-carotene-producing pathway, including ACS1 and HMG1. As a result, 772.8 mg/L of β-carotene was obtained in a fed-batch bioreactor culture with xylose feeding. Considering the inevitable large scale production of xylose when cellulosic biomass-based bioeconomy is implemented, our results suggest xylose utilization is a promising strategy for overproduction of carotenoids and other isoprenoids in engineered S. cerevisiae.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3522-3532
Number of pages11
JournalBiotechnology and bioengineering
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020


  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • glucose
  • tHMG1
  • xylose
  • β-carotene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


Dive into the research topics of 'High-level β-carotene production from xylose by engineered Saccharomyces cerevisiae without overexpression of a truncated HMG1 (tHMG1)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this