Posts Tagged ‘yeast’


February 23rd, 2010


PYFF4-logo2Research on the physiology of yeasts and filamentous fungi is booming and scientific interest in these ‘lower’ eukaryotes continues to grow. Key drivers include their relevance for industrial biotechnology, food and pharmaceutical industries and their role as highly accessible eukaryotic models for systems biology.

Three previous, highly successful editions of the Physiology of Yeasts and Filamentous Fungi (PYFF) conferences in Hindsgavl (2001), Anglet (2004) and Helsinki (2007) have brought together researchers active at the frontline of research on yeasts and filamentous fungi. Since the Helsinki meeting, the field has seen further spectacular developments, including the sequencing and analysis of important yeast and filamentous fungal genomes, the introduction of single-cell approaches in fungal research and breakthrough results in metabolic engineering. PYFF4 will celebrate these scientific developments and, once again, provide a platform for exchange of concepts between the yeast and fungal research communities.

PYFF4 will be organized in a dynamic environment: the harbour City of Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The conference venue, the Rotterdam World Trade Center, is located in the city centre, with excellent accessibility (plane, train) and many hotels in the immediate vicinity. The social event, an evening boat tour through the harbour area with an onboard dinner, will provide ample opportunity to take in more than fungal physiology.

The conference will be held from Tuesday June 1 (evening reception) – Friday June 4, 2010.
The scientific programme covers 3 full days.

Unwrapping the genome of a protein µfactory

August 25th, 2009

PicpaThe methylotrophic yeast Pichia pastoris has become a highly successful system for the expression of heterologous genes. It is widely used for the production of recombinant proteins. Several factors have contributed to its rapid acceptance, the most important of which include (1) A promoter derived from the alcohol oxidase I (AOX1) gene of P. pastoris that is uniquely suited for the controlled expression of foreign genes, (2) The strong preference of P. pastoris for respiratory growth, a physiological feature that greatly facilitates its culturing at high cell densities relative to fermentative yeasts and (3) strains capable of human-type N-glycosylation are available increasing the utility of this ‘humanized’ yeast for biopharmaceutical production. In addition, P. pastoris is a widely used model organism for studying peroxisomal biogenesis and methanol assimilation.

In the June issue of Nature Biotechnology, Nico Callewaert’s group (from Ghent VIB) published the genome sequence of P. pastoris. To my knowledge, this  is the first fungal genome published that has been assembled exclusively from ‘454 GS-FLX’ reads. Using this approach, they highly oversampled the genome (897,000, 20 times coverage) and generated 70,500 paired-end sequence tags, to enable the assembly of all but seven contigs into nine ‘supercontigs’ (plus the mitochondrial genome). The genome is organized in four chromosomes with a total estimated size of 9.4 Mbp and 5,313 protein-coding genes. To facilitate the ‘customization’ of novel strains for protein production, in-depth gene curations of genes involved in protein secretion, protein glycosylation and protein degradation were performed. The wealth of information generated by these genome sequence and annotation will likely facilitate the design of highly productive biopharmaceutical strains.

De Schutter, K., Lin, Y.-C., Tiels, P., Van Hecke, A., Glinka, S., Weber-Lehmann, J., Rouzé, P., Van de Peer, Y., Callewaert, L. (2009) Genome sequence of the recombinant protein production host Pichia pastoris, a methylotrophic yeast. Nature Biotechnology 27, 561 – 566.

Sequencing a winemaker’s nemesis

August 15th, 2009

verre de vinSeen on the JGI News feed: ‘Wineries have tried a number of different chemical mixtures to ward off infection [by contaminating micro-organisms], but none have proven fully effective. JGI and collaborators believes the genome [sequence] will provide answers on how Brettanomyces (Dekkera bruxellensis)) survives the initial battle with Saccharomyces, how it spreads so fast and, ultimately, on how to stop it.’

Brettanomyces, a yeast species, contaminates wine and corrupts the entire fermentation process leading to flavors best described as sweaty horse, manure, and burnt plastic, ruining a wine completely. This genome project will hopefully take the barnyard smell out of your glass of wine.