A synthetic promoter system for well-controlled protein expression with different carbon sources in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Jiliang Deng, Yanling Wu, Zhaohui Zheng, Nanzhu Chen, Xiaozhou Luo*, Hongting Tang*, Jay D. Keasling

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Background Saccharomyces cerevisiae is an important synthetic biology chassis for microbial production of valuable molecules. Promoter engineering has been frequently applied to generate more synthetic promoters with a variety of defined characteristics in order to achieve a well-regulated genetic network for high production efficiency. Galactose-inducible (GAL) expression systems, composed of GAL promoters and multiple GAL regulators, have been widely used for protein overexpression and pathway construction in S. cerevisiae. However, the function of each element in synthetic promoters and how they interact with GAL regulators are not well known. Results Here, a library of synthetic GAL promoters demonstrate that upstream activating sequences (UASs) and core promoters have a synergistic relationship that determines the performance of each promoter under different carbon sources. We found that the strengths of synthetic GAL promoters could be fine-tuned by manipulating the sequence, number, and substitution of UASs. Core promoter replacement generated synthetic promoters with a twofold strength improvement compared with the GAL1 promoter under multiple different carbon sources in a strain with GAL1 and GAL80 engineering. These results represent an expansion of the classic GAL expression system with an increased dynamic range and a good tolerance of different carbon sources. Conclusions In this study, the effect of each element on synthetic GAL promoters has been evaluated and a series of well-controlled synthetic promoters are constructed. By studying the interaction of synthetic promoters and GAL regulators, synthetic promoters with an increased dynamic range under different carbon sources are created.
Original languageEnglish
Article number202
JournalMicrobial Cell Factories
Issue number1
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Carbon sources
  • Protein expression
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • Synthetic promoter


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