Evaluation of synthetic formaldehyde and methanol assimilation pathways in Yarrowia lipolytica

Eija Vartiainen, Peter Blomberg, Marja Ilmén, Martina Andberg, Mervi Toivari (Corresponding Author), Merja Penttilä

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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    Background: Crude glycerol coming from biodiesel production is an attractive carbon source for biological production of chemicals. The major impurity in preparations of crude glycerol is methanol, which is toxic for most microbes. Development of microbes, which would not only tolerate the methanol, but also use it as co-substrate, would increase the feasibility of bioprocesses using crude glycerol as substrate.
    Results: To prevent methanol conversion to CO2 via formaldehyde and formate, the formaldehyde dehydrogenase (FLD) gene was identified in and deleted from Yarrowia lipolytica. The deletion strain was able to convert methanol to formaldehyde without expression of heterologous methanol dehydrogenases. Further, it was shown that expression of heterologous formaldehyde assimilating enzymes could complement the deletion of FLD. The expression of either 3-hexulose-6-phosphate synthase (HPS) enzyme of ribulose monosphosphate pathway or dihydroxyacetone synthase (DHAS) enzyme of xylulose monosphosphate pathway restored the formaldehyde tolerance of the formaldehyde sensitive Δfld1 strain.
    Conclusions: In silico, the expression of heterologous formaldehyde assimilation pathways enable Y. lipolytica to use methanol as substrate for growth and metabolite production. In vivo, methanol was shown to be converted to formaldehyde and the enzymes of formaldehyde assimilation were actively expressed in this yeast. However, further development is required to enable Y. lipolytica to efficiently use methanol as co-substrate with glycerol.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number27
    JournalFungal Biology and Biotechnology
    Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2019
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • Yarrowia lipolytica
    • Crude glycerol,
    • Methano
    • formaldehyde exposure


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