Expression of phosphotransacetylase in Rhodosporidium toruloides leading to improved cell growth and lipid production
Microbial lipids (MLs) are potential alternatives to vegetable oils and animal fats for production of biofuels and oleochemicals. It remains critical to improve ML production efficiency and costs for further commercial development. In the present study, we overexpressed a gene encoding phosphotransacetylase (Pta) in the oleaginous yeast Rhodosporidium toruloides for enhanced cell growth and lipid production. Compared with the parental strain R. toruloides NP11, the engineered strain NP-Pta-15 showed significant improvement in glucose consumption, cell growth and lipid accumulation when cultivated under nitrogen limited conditions in an Erlenmeyer flask as well as a stirred tank bioreactor. The introduction of Pta may establish an additional acetyl-CoA formation route by utilization of acetylphosphate. Our results should inspire more engineering efforts to facilitate the economic viability of ML technology.