Genetic Features and Regulation of n-Alkane Metabolism in Yeasts
The yeasts Candida tropicalis, Candida maltosa, and Yarrowia lipolytica have an excellent ability to use n-alkanes as the sole carbon and energy source. Here, we summarize the current knowledge of the genetic features and regulation of n-alkane metabolism in these yeasts. The transcription of genes encoding the CYP52-family cytochromes P450 that catalyze the initial hydroxylation of n-alkanes has been shown to be activated when these yeasts are cultured in the presence of n-alkanes. In Y. lipolytica, the transcription of ALK1, the gene encoding P450, is activated by a complex composed of two basic helix-loop-helix transcription activators Yas1p and Yas2p through a promoter element ARE1. This transcription is regulated by an Opi1-family transcriptional repressor Yas3p. In the absence of n-alkanes, Yas3p binds to Yas2p in the nucleus thereby repressing the transcription of ALK1. However, in the presence of n-alkanes, Yas3p is sequestered to the endoplasmic reticulum to derepress the transcription of the gene.
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