Rapid ethanol production at elevated temperatures by engineered thermotolerant Kluyveromyces marxianus via the NADP(H)-preferring xylose reductase-xylitol dehydrogenase pathway.Metab Eng. 2015 Sep; 31:140-52.ME
Conversion of xylose to ethanol by yeasts is a challenge because of the redox imbalances under oxygen-limited conditions. The thermotolerant yeast Kluyveromyces marxianus grows well with xylose as a carbon source at elevated temperatures, but its xylose fermentation ability is weak. In this study, a combination of the NADPH-preferring xylose reductase (XR) from Neurospora crassa and the NADP(+)-preferring xylitol dehydrogenase (XDH) mutant from Scheffersomyces stipitis (Pichia stipitis) was constructed. The xylose fermentation ability and redox balance of the recombinant strains were improved significantly by over-expression of several downstream genes. The intracellular concentrations of coenzymes and the reduced coenzyme/oxidized coenzyme ratio increased significantly in these metabolic strains. The byproducts, such as glycerol and acetic acid, were significantly reduced by the disruption of glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GPD1). The resulting engineered K. marxianus YZJ088 strain produced 44.95 g/L ethanol from 118.39 g/L xylose with a productivity of 2.49 g/L/h at 42 °C. Additionally, YZJ088 realized glucose and xylose co-fermentation and produced 51.43 g/L ethanol from a mixture of 103.97 g/L xylose and 40.96 g/L glucose with a productivity of 2.14 g/L/h at 42 °C. These promising results validate the YZJ088 strain as an excellent producer of ethanol from xylose through the synthetic xylose assimilation pathway.