A CRISPR/Cas9 Method Facilitates Efficient Oligo-Mediated Gene Editing in Debaryomyces Hansenii

Tomas Strucko, Niklas L. Andersen, Mikkel R. Mahler, José L. Martínez, Uffe H. Mortensen*

*Corresponding author for this work

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The halophilic and osmotolerant yeast Debaryomyces hansenii has a high potential for cell factory applications due to its resistance to harsh environmental factors and compatibility with a wide substrate range. However, currently available genetic techniques does not allow the full potential of D. hansenii as a cell factory to be harnessed. Moreover, most of the currently available tools rely on the use of auxotrophic markers that are not suitable in wild-type prototrophic strains. In addition, the preferred non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ) DNA damage repair mechanism pose further challenges when precise gene targeting is required. In this study, we present a novel plasmid based CRISPRCUG/Cas9 method for easy and efficient gene editing of the prototrophic strains of D. hansenii. Our toolset design is based on a dominant marker and facilitates quick assembly of the vectors expressing Cas9 and single or multiple sgRNAs that provides possibility for multiplex gene engineering even in prototrophic strains. Moreover, we have constructed an NHEJ deficient D. hansenii that enable our CRISPRCUG/Cas9 tools to support highly efficient introduction of point mutations and single/double gene deletions. Importantly, we also demonstrate that 90-nt single stranded DNA oligonucleotides are sufficient to direct repair of DNA breaks induced by sgRNA-Cas9 resulting in precise edits reaching 100% efficiencies. In conclusion, tools developed in this study will greatly advance basic and applied research in D. hansenii. In addition, we envision that our tools can be rapidly adapted for gene editing of other non-conventional yeast species including the ones belonging to the CUG clade.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberyasb031
JournalSynthetic Biology
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • CRISPR-Cas9
  • Gene editing
  • CUG clade
  • panARS
  • Homologous recombination
  • KU70


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