Ethanol production from xylose by a recombinant Candida utilis strain expressing protein-engineered xylose reductase and xylitol dehydrogenase

Tamakawa, H.; Ikushima, S.; Yoshida, S.

Bioscience Biotechnology and Biochemistry 75(10): 1994-2000


ISSN/ISBN: 1347-6947
PMID: 21979076
DOI: 10.1271/bbb.110426
Accession: 053045138

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The industrial yeast Candida utilis can grow on media containing xylose as sole carbon source, but cannot ferment it to ethanol. The deficiency might be due to the low activity of NADPH-preferring xylose reductase (XR) and NAD(+)-dependent xylitol dehydogenase (XDH), which convert xylose to xylulose, because C. utilis can ferment xylulose. We introduced multiple site-directed mutations in the coenzyme binding sites of XR and XDH derived from the xylose-fermenting yeast Candida shehatae to alter their coenzyme specificities. Several combinations of recombinant and native XRs and XDHs were tested. Highest productivity was observed in a strain expressing CsheXR K275R/N277D (NADH-preferring) and native CsheXDH (NAD(+)-dependent), which produced 17.4 g/L of ethanol from 50 g/L of xylose in 20 h. Analysis of the genes responsible for ethanol production from the xylose capacity of C. utilis indicated that the introduction of CsheXDH was essential, while overexpression of CsheXR K275R/N277D improved efficiency of ethanol production.