Oleaginicity of the Yeast Strain Saccharomyces cerevisiae D5A

Eric Knoshaug, Bryon Donohoe, Stefanie Van Wychen, Min Zhang, Michael Himmel, Shihui Yang, Yongfu Yang, Qiaoning He

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34 Scopus Citations


Background: The model yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is not known to be oleaginous. However, an industrial wild-type strain, D5A, was shown to accumulate over 20% storage lipids from glucose when growth is nitrogen-limited compared to no more than 7% lipid accumulation without nitrogen stress. Methods and results: To elucidate the mechanisms of S. cerevisiae D5A oleaginicity, we compared physiological and metabolic changes; as well as the transcriptional profiles of the oleaginous industrial strain, D5A, and a non-oleaginous laboratory strain, BY4741, under normal and nitrogen-limited conditions using analytic techniques and next-generation sequencing-based RNA-Seq transcriptomics. Transcriptional levels for genes associated with fatty acid biosynthesis, nitrogen metabolism, amino acid catabolism, as well as the pentose phosphate pathway and ethanol oxidation in central carbon (C) metabolism, were up-regulated in D5A during nitrogen deprivation. Despite increased carbon flux to lipids, most gene-encoding enzymes involved in triacylglycerol (TAG) assembly were expressed at similar levels regardless of the varying nitrogen concentrations in the growth media and strain backgrounds. Phospholipid turnover also contributed to TAG accumulation through increased precursor production with the down-regulation of subsequent phospholipid synthesis steps. Our results also demonstrated that nitrogen assimilation via the glutamate-glutamine pathway and amino acid metabolism, as well as the fluxes of carbon and reductants from central C metabolism, are integral to the general oleaginicity of D5A, which resulted in the enhanced lipid storage during nitrogen deprivation. Conclusion: This work demonstrated the disequilibrium and rebalance of carbon and nitrogen contribution to the accumulation of lipids in the oleaginous yeast S. cerevisiae D5A. Rather than TAG assembly from acyl groups, the major switches for the enhanced lipid accumulation of D5A (i.e., fatty acid biosynthesis) are the increases of cytosolic pools of acetyl-CoA and NADPH, as well as alternative nitrogen assimilation.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number258
Number of pages20
JournalBiotechnology for Biofuels
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Author(s).

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5100-71803


  • Lipid accumulation
  • Nitrogen assimilation
  • Oleaginous yeast
  • RNA-Seq
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • Transcriptomics
  • Triacylglycerol (TAG)


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