Transcriptional Regulatory Networks Involved in C3-C4 Alcohol Stress Response and Tolerance in Yeast

Liya Liang, Rongming Liu, Emily Freed, Carrie Eckert, Ryan Gill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus Citations


Alcohol toxicity significantly impacts the titer and productivity of industrially produced biofuels. To overcome this limitation, we must find and use strategies to improve stress tolerance in production strains. Previously, we developed a multiplex navigation of a global regulatory network (MINR) library that targeted 25 regulatory genes that are predicted to modify global regulation in yeast under different stress conditions. In this study, we expanded this concept to target the active sites of 47 transcriptional regulators using a saturation mutagenesis library. The 47 targeted regulators interact with more than half of all yeast genes. We then screened and selected for C3-C4 alcohol tolerance. We identified specific mutants that have resistance to isopropanol and isobutanol. Notably, the WAR1_K110N variant improved tolerance to both isopropanol and isobutanol. In addition, we investigated the mechanisms for improvement of isopropanol and isobutanol stress tolerance and found that genes related to glycolysis play a role in tolerance to isobutanol, while changes in ATP synthesis and mitochondrial respiration play a role in tolerance to both isobutanol and isopropanol. Overall, this work sheds light on basic mechanisms for isopropanol and isobutanol toxicity and demonstrates a promising strategy to improve tolerance to C3-C4 alcohols by perturbing the transcriptional regulatory network.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)19-28
Number of pages10
JournalACS Synthetic Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-2700-78832


  • isobutanol
  • isopropanol
  • transcriptional regulatory network
  • yeast alcohol tolerance


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