Overexpression of RCK1 improves acetic acid tolerance in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Eun Joong Oh, Na Wei, Suryang Kwak, Heejin Kim, Yong Su Jin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mixed sugars derived from lignocellulosic biomass can be converted into biofuels and chemicals by engineered microorganisms, but toxic fermentation inhibitors produced from harsh depolymerization processes of lignocellulosic biomass pose a critical challenge for economic production of biofuels and chemicals. Unlike other fermentation inhibitors generated from sugar degradation, acetic acid is inevitably produced from acetylated hemicellulose, and its concentrations in cellulosic hydrolysates are substantially higher than other fermentation inhibitors. The aim of this study was to identify novel genetic perturbations for improved acetic acid tolerance in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Through a genomic library-based approach, we identified an overexpression gene target RCK1 coding for a protein kinase involved in oxidative stress. Overexpression of RCK1 significantly improved glucose and xylose fermentation under acetic acid stress conditions. Specifically, the RCK1-overexpressing strain exhibited a two-fold higher specific ethanol productivity than the control strain in glucose fermentation under the presence of acetic acid. Interestingly, the engineered S. cerevisiae overexpressing RCK1 showed 40% lower intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels as compared to the parental strain when the strains were exposed to acetic acid, suggesting that RCK1 overexpression might play a role in reducing the oxidative stress caused by acetic acid.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Biotechnology
StatePublished - Feb 20 2019


  • Acetic acid tolerance
  • Inverse metabolic engineering
  • Oxidative stress
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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