Molecular biology of Kluyveromyces lactis
The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is probably the most thoroughly understood amongst eukaryotic organisms and an excellent model for the study of eukaryotic cells in general; indeed, the term “yeast” is often used as a synonim for this species. Recently, however, other yeasts have attracted the attention of researchers as a result of their distinct biological and metabolic properties which open up new possibilities of biological utilization. Among these so called “non-conventional” yeasts, Kluyveromyces lactis has attracted a special interest because of several peculiar characteristics, including the easiness of mass cultivation, its status of safe organism and its very good secretion properties. K.lactis is a budding yeast and, like S.cerevisiae, lends itself easily to genetic analysis. It differs, however, from S.cerevisiae for several important metabolic properties and is a “petite negative” yeast, i.e. a species in which no mitochondrial respiratory deficient mutants have been found. It has a considerably smaller number of chromosomes than S.cerevisiae, which are however larger in size. Pulsed field gel electrophoresis reveals six DNA bands ranging in size roughly between 1.2 and 2.8 megabasepairs (Sor and Fukuhara, 1989). Several genes are being mapped by hybridization on the chromosomes and results are being compared with linkage maps of known mutations obtained by tetrad analysis.
KeywordsBiomass Sugar Fermentation Recombination Respiration
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