Investigating the Influence of Glycerol on the Utilization of Glucose in Yarrowia lipolytica Using RNA-Seq-Based Transcriptomics

Patrice Jeremie Keta Lubuta, Mhairi Workman, Eduard J Kerkhoven, Christopher T Workman

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Glycerol is considered as a promising substrate for biotechnological applications and the non-conventional yeast Yarrowia lipolytica has been used extensively for the valorization of this compound. Contrary to S. cerevisiae, Y. lipolytica seems to prefer glycerol over glucose and it has been reported previously that the presence of glycerol can suppress the consumption of glucose in co-substrate fermentations. Based on these observations, we hypothesized glycerol repression-like effects in Y. lipolytica, which are converse to well described carbon repression mechanisms ensuring the prioritized use of glucose (e.g. in S. cerevisiae). We therefore aimed to investigate this effect on the level of transcription. Strains varying in the degree of glucose suppression were chosen and characterized in high-resolution growth screenings, resulting in the detection of different growth phenotypes under glycerol-glucose mixed conditions. Two strains, IBT and W29, were selected and cultivated in chemostats using glucose, glycerol and glucose/glycerol as carbon sources, followed by an RNA-Seq-based transcriptome analysis. We could show that several transporters were significantly higher expressed in W29, which is potentially related to the observed physiological differences. However, most of the expression variation between the strains were regardless of the carbon source applied, and cross-comparisons revealed that the strain-specific carbon source responses underwent in the opposite direction. A deeper analysis of the substrate specific carbon source response led to the identification of several differentially expressed genes with orthologous functions related to signal transduction and transcriptional regulation. This study provides an initial investigation on potentially novel carbon source regulation mechanisms in yeasts.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberg3.400469.2019
JournalG3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics (Bethesda)
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)4059-4071
Number of pages48
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Yarrowia lipolytica
  • Quantitative physiology
  • Carbon repression
  • Transcriptomics
  • RNA-Seq


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