- SOC BIOSCIENCE BIOENGINEERING JAPAN
The hydrolysis of lignocellulosic biomass liberates sugars, primarily glucose and xylose, which are subsequently converted to ethanol by microbial fermentation. The rapid and efficient fermentation of xylose by recombinant Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains is limited by weak acids generated during biomass pretreatment processes. In particular, acetic acid negatively affects cell growth, xylose fermentation rate, and ethanol production. The ability of S. cerevisiae to efficiently utilize xylose in the presence of acetic acid is an essential requirement for the cost-effective production of ethanol from lignocellulosic hydrolysates. Here, an acetic acid-responsive transcriptional activator, HAA1, was overexpressed in a recombinant xylose-fermenting S. cerevisiae strain to yield BY4741X/HAA1. This strain exhibited improved cell growth and ethanol production from xylose under aerobic and oxygen limited conditions, respectively, in the presence of acetic acid. The HAA1p regulon enhanced transcript levels in BY4741X/HAA1. The disruption of PHO13, a p-nitrophenylphosphatase gene, in BY4741X/HAA1 led to further improvement in both yeast growth and the ability to ferment xylose, indicating that HAA1 overexpression and PHO13 deletion act by different mechanisms to enhance ethanol production.
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