The Lipomyces starkeyi gene Ls120451 encodes a cellobiose transporter that enables cellobiose fermentation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Jorg de Ruijter (Corresponding Author), Kiyohiko Igarashi, Merja Penttilä

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Processed lignocellulosic biomass is a source of mixed sugars that can be used for microbial fermentation into fuels or higher value products, like chemicals. Previously, the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae was engineered to utilize its cellodextrins through the heterologous expression of sugar transporters together with an intracellular expressed β-glucosidase. In this study, we screened a selection of eight (putative) cellodextrin transporters from different yeast and fungal hosts in order to extend the catalogue of available cellobiose transporters for cellobiose fermentation in S. cerevisiae. We confirmed that several in silico predicted cellodextrin transporters from Aspergillus niger were capable of transporting cellobiose with low affinity. In addition, we found a novel cellobiose transporter from the yeast Lipomyces starkeyi, encoded by the gene Ls120451. This transporter allowed efficient growth on cellobiose, while it also grew on glucose and lactose, but not cellotriose nor cellotetraose. We characterized the transporter more in-depth together with the transporter CdtG from Penicillium oxalicum. CdtG showed to be slightly more efficient in cellobiose consumption than Ls120451 at concentrations below 1.0 g/L. Ls120451 was more efficient in cellobiose consumption at higher concentrations and strains expressing this transporter grew slightly slower, but produced up to 30% more ethanol than CdtG.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalFEMS Yeast Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed



  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • cellodextrin transporter
  • cellobiose fermentation
  • Lipomyces starkeyi
  • CdtG
  • sugar transporter

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