Yeast lacking the sterol C-5 desaturase Erg3 are tolerant to the anti-inflammatory triterpenoid saponin escin

Emily J. Johnston*, Jess Tallis, Edward Cunningham-Oakes, Tessa Moses, Simon J. Moore, Sarah Hosking, Susan J. Rosser*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Escin is a mixture of over 30 glycosylated triterpenoid (saponin) structures, extracted from the dried fruit of horse chestnuts. Escin is currently used as an anti-inflammatory, and has potential applications in the treatment of arthritis and cancer. Engineered yeast would enable production of specific bioactive components of escin at industrial scale, however many saponins have been shown to be toxic to yeast. Here we report that a Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain specifically lacking the sterol C-5 desaturase gene ERG3, exhibits striking enhanced tolerance to escin treatment. Transcriptome analyses, as well as pre-mixing of escin with sterols, support the hypothesis that escin interacts directly with ergosterol, but not as strongly with the altered sterols present in erg3Δ. A diverse range of saponins are of commercial interest, and this research highlights the value of screening lipidome mutants to identify appropriate hosts for engineering the industrial production of saponins.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13617
JournalScientific Reports
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Aug 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae/genetics
  • Escin
  • Saponins/pharmacology
  • Sterols/pharmacology
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Fatty Acid Desaturases

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