Biotech Updates

Researchers Identify a Carotenoid Biosynthetic Gene in Rhodosporidium toruloides

June 14, 2017

Rhodosporidium toruloides is a red yeast species which produces carotenoids, making it a potential carotenoid cell factory. Hence, in exploring the feasibility of producing value-added oleochemicals and pigments, R. toruloides is of interest. Researchers from various universities in China, led by Wenyi Sun, aimed to identify a carotenoid biosynthetic gene.

The team focused on the RHTO_04602 locus of R. toruloides NP11, assigned to code the carotenoid biosynthetic gene CRTI. The team cloned the CRT1 and was then used to transform R. toruloides cells via Agrobacterium-mediated transformation, resulting in white yeast transformants.

Analysis of these transformants confirmed the inactivation of CRTI. When these white variants were transformed with a CRTI-expression cassette, cells became red and produced carotenoids similar to the wild-type strain NP11.

These data confirmed the function of RHTO_04602 in carotenoid biosynthesis in R. toruloides. It will be a foundation for metabolic engineering of the yeast for industrial applications.

For more on this study, read the article in Biotechnology Letters.