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Towards a penicillin producing yeast

02 November 2009

Promotie: L. Gidijala, 13.15 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen
Proefschrift: Towards a penicillin producing yeast
Promotor(s): prof.dr. I.J. van der Klei, prof.dr. M. Veenhuis
Faculteit: Wiskunde en Natuurwetenschappen
Contact: tel. 050-363 2218, e-mail:

Towards a penicillin producing yeast

Penicillium chrysogenum is a filamentous fungus that is currently used for the industrial production of β-lactam antibiotics (penicillins). The use of these organisms has severe disadvantages over unicellular fungi for industrial fermentations which has led Loknath Gidijala to investigate the use of Hansenula polymorpha, a yeast species that does not produce penicillin, for is potential to produce penicillins. In P. chrysogenum penicillin production is compartmentalized over the cytosol and peroxisomes. The choice for H. polymorpha is reinforced by the fact that in this organism the volume fractions of peroxisomes can be readily manipulated by adapting cultivation conditions.

Reprogramming H. polymorpha as host for penicillin biosynthesis faced Gidijala with the challenging task to introduce the whole P. chrysogenum penicillin biosynthetic pathway (including the enzymes ACVS, PPTase, IPNS, IAT, and PCL) in this organism in a stable and active configuration and sort them to the correct subcellular location. After successful introduction, H. polymorpha indeed efficiently produced and secreted penicillin. The current achievements of Gidijala have major spin-offs as they open the way for novel bio-based platforms for the biosynthesis of natural and semi-synthetic antibiotics using the power of yeast fermentation.

Last modified:15 September 2017 3.38 p.m.
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