Aconitase overexpression changes the product ratio of citric acid production byYarrowia lipolytica

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The yeast Yarrowia lipolytica secretes high amounts of various organic acids, like citric acid (CA) and isocitric acid (ICA) under an excess of carbon source and several conditions of growth limitation. Depending on the carbon source used, Y. lipolytica strains produce a mixture of CA and ICA in a characteristic ratio. To examine whether this CA/ICA product ratio can be influenced by gene-dose-dependent overexpression of aconitase (ACO)-encoding gene ACO1, a recombinant Y. lipolytica strain was constructed containing multiple copies of ACO1. The high-level expression of ACO in the ACO1 multicopy integrative transformant resulted in a shift of the CA/ICA product pattern into the direction of ICA. On sunflower oil, a striking increase of the ICA proportion from 35-49% to 66-71% was observed compared to wild-type strains without influencing the total amount of acids (CA and ICA) produced. On glycerol, glucose or sucrose, the ICA proportion increased only moderately from 10-12% to 13-17%. This moderate shift into the direction of ICA was also observed in an icl1-defective strain.

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