Modulation of the cell wall protein Ecm33p in yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae improves the production of small metabolites

Verónica Ramos-Viana, Iben Møller-Hansen, Paul Kempen, Irina Borodina*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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The cell wall is a dynamic organelle that determines the shape and provides the cell with mechanical strength. This study investigated whether modulation of cell wall composition can influence the production or secretion of small metabolites by yeast cell factories. We deleted and upregulated several cell wall-related genes KRE2, CWP1, CWP2, ECM33, PUN1, and LAS21 in yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae engineered for p-coumaric acid or β-carotene production. Deletions of las21∆ and ecm33∆ impaired the yeast growth on medium with cell wall stressors, calcofluor white, and caffeine. Both overexpression and deletion of ECM33 significantly improved the specific yield of p-coumaric acid and β-carotene. We observed no change in secretion in any cell wall-altered mutants, suggesting the cell wall is not a limiting factor for small molecule secretion at the current production levels. We evaluated the cell wall morphology of the ECM33 mutant strains using transmission electron microscopy. The ecm33∆ mutants had an increased chitin deposition and a less structured cell wall, while the opposite was observed in ECM33-overexpressing strains. Our results point at the cell wall-related gene ECM33 as a potential target for improving production in engineered yeast cell factories.

Original languageEnglish
JournalFEMS Yeast Research
Issue number1
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • ECM33
  • Calcofluor white
  • Cell wall
  • Cell wall integrity signaling pathway
  • Yeast cell factory


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