Usher J, Balderas-Hernandez V, Quon P, Gold ND, Martin VJJ, Mahadevan R, Baetz K
G3 (Bethesda). 2011 Sep;1(4):247–58
Though highly efficient at fermenting hexose sugars, Saccharomyces cerevisiae has limited ability to ferment five-carbon sugars. As a significant portion of sugars found in cellulosic biomass is the five-carbon sugar xylose, S. cerevisiae must be engineered to metabolize pentose sugars, commonly by the addition of exogenous genes from xylose fermenting fungi. However, these recombinant strains grow poorly on xylose and require further improvement through rational engineering or evolutionary adaptation. To identify unknown genes that contribute to improved xylosefermentation in these recombinant S. cerevisiae, we performed genome-wide synthetic interaction screens to identify deletion mutants that impactxylose utilization of strains expressing the xylose isomerase gene XYLA from Piromyces sp. E2 alone or with an additional copy of the endogenous xylulokinase gene XKS1. We also screened the deletion mutant array to identify mutants whose growth is affected by xylose. Our genetic network reveals that more than 80 nonessential genes from a diverse range of cellular processes impact xylose utilization. Surprisingly, we identified fourgenes, ALP1, ISC1, RPL20B, and BUD21, that when individually deleted improved xylose utilization of both S. cerevisiae S288C and CEN.PK strains. We further characterized BUD21 deletion mutant cells in batch fermentations and found that they produce ethanol even the absence of exogenous XYLA. We have demonstrated that the ability of laboratory strains of S. cerevisiae to utilize xylose as a sole carbon source is suppressed, which implies that S. cerevisiae may not require the addition of exogenous genes for efficient xylose fermentation.