Transcriptome and proteome analysis of xylose-metabolising Saccharomyces cerevisiae: Dissertation

    Research output: ThesisDissertationCollection of Articles


    Increasing concern about global climate warming has accelerated research into renewable energy sources that could replace fossil petroleum-based fuels and materials. Bioethanol production from cellulosic biomass by fermentation with baker's yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is one of the most studied areas in this field. The focus has been on metabolic engineering of S. cerevisiae for utilisation of the pentose sugars, in particular D-xylose that is abundant in the hemicellulose fraction of biomass. Introduction of a heterologous xylose-utilisation pathway into S. cerevisiae enables xylose fermentation, but ethanol yield and productivity do not reach the theoretical level. In the present study, transcription, proteome and metabolic flux analyses of recombinant xylose-utilising S. cerevisiae expressing the genes encoding xylose reductase (XR) and xylitol dehydrogenase (XDH) from Pichia stipitis and the endogenous xylulokinase were carried out to characterise the global cellular responses to metabolism of xylose. The aim of these studies was to find novel ways to engineer cells for improved xylose fermentation. The analyses were carried out from cells grown on xylose and glucose both in batch and chemostat cultures. A particularly interesting observation was that several proteins had post-translationally modified forms with different abundance in cells grown on xylose and glucose. Hexokinase 2, glucokinase and both enolase isoenzymes 1 and 2 were phosphorylated differently on the two different carbon sources studied. This suggests that phosphorylation of glycolytic enzymes may be a yet poorly understood means to modulate their activity or function. The results also showed that metabolism of xylose affected the gene expression and abundance of proteins in pathways leading to acetyl-CoA synthesis and altered the metabolic fluxes in these pathways. Additionally, the analyses showed increased expression and abundance of several other genes and proteins involved in cellular redox reactions (e.g. aldo-ketoreductase Gcy1p and 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase) in cells grown on xylose. Metabolic flux analysis indicated increased NADPH-generating flux through the oxidative part of the pentose phosphate pathway in cells grown on xylose. The most importantly, results indicated that xylose was not able to repress to the same extent as glucose the genes of the tricarboxylic acid and glyoxylate cycles, gluconeogenesis and some other genes involved in the metabolism of respiratory carbon sources. This suggests that xylose is not recognised as a fully fermentative carbon source by the recombinant S. cerevisiae that may be one of the major reasons for the suboptimal fermentation of xylose. The regulatory network for carbon source recognition and catabolite repression is complex and its functions are only partly known. Consequently, multiple genetic modifications and also random approaches would probably be required if these pathways were to be modified for further improvement of xylose fermentation by recombinant S. cerevisiae strains.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor Degree
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Helsinki
    • Ruohonen, Laura, Supervisor, External person
    • Penttilä, Merja, Supervisor
    Award date30 May 2008
    Place of PublicationEspoo
    Print ISBNs978-951-38-7089-8
    Electronic ISBNs978-951-38-7093-5
    Publication statusPublished - 2008
    MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


    • Saccharomyces cerevisiae
    • metabolic engineering
    • xylose
    • bioethanol
    • glucose repression
    • respiration
    • fermentation
    • transcriptional profiling
    • proteome


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