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The wide‐ranging phenotypes of ergosterol biosynthesis mutants, and implications for microbial cell factories

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Original languageEnglish
Early online date4 Dec 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Dec 2019


Yeast strains have been used extensively as robust microbial cell factories for the production of bulk and fine chemicals, including biofuels (bioethanol), complex pharmaceuticals (anti‐malarial drug artemisinin and opioid pain‐killers), flavours and fragrances (vanillin, nootkatone, resveratrol). In many cases it is of benefit to suppress or modify ergosterol biosynthesis during strain engineering, for example to increase thermotolerance, or to increase metabolic flux through an alternate pathway. However, the impact of modifying ergosterol biosynthesis on engineered strains is discussed sparsely in literature and little attention has been paid to the implications of these modifications on the general health and well‐being of yeast. Importantly, yeast with modified sterol content exhibit a wide range of phenotypes, including altered organization and dynamics of plasma membrane, altered susceptibility to chemical treatment, increased tolerance to high temperatures, and reduced tolerance to other stresses such as high ethanol, salt and solute concentrations. Here, we review the wide‐ranging phenotypes of viable Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains with altered sterol content, and discuss the implications of these for yeast as microbial cell factories.

    Research areas

  • Endocytosis, Episterol, Fecosterol, Plasma membrane, Sterol, stress, Thermotolerance

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