Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 85, Issue 3, pp 731–739 | Cite as

Enhancing the flux of D-glucose to the pentose phosphate pathway in Saccharomyces cerevisiae for the production of D-ribose and ribitol

  • Mervi H. Toivari
  • Hannu Maaheimo
  • Merja Penttilä
  • Laura Ruohonen
Applied Microbial and Cell Physiology


Phosphoglucose isomerase-deficient (pgi1) strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae were studied for the production of D-ribose and ribitol from D-glucose via the intermediates of the pentose phosphate pathway. Overexpression of the genes coding for NAD+-specific glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH2) of S. cerevisiae or NADPH-utilising glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (gapB) of Bacillus subtilis enabled growth of the pgi1 mutant strains on D-glucose. Overexpression of the gene encoding sugar phosphate phosphatase (DOG1) of S. cerevisiae was needed for the production of D-ribose and ribitol; however, it reduced the growth of the pgi1 strains expressing GDH2 or gapB in the presence of higher D-glucose concentrations. The CEN.PK2-1D laboratory strain expressing both gapB and DOG1 produced approximately 0.4 g l−1 of D-ribose and ribitol when grown on 20 g l−1 (w/v) D-fructose with 4 g l−1 (w/v) D-glucose. Nuclear magnetic resonance measurements of the cells grown with 13C-labelled D-glucose showed that about 60% of the D-ribose produced was derived from D-glucose. Strains deficient in both phosphoglucose isomerase and transketolase activities, and expressing DOG1 and GDH2 tolerated only low D-glucose concentrations (≤2 g l−1 (w/v)), but produced 1 g l−1 (w/v) D-ribose and ribitol when grown on 20 g l−1 (w/v) D-fructose with 2 g l−1 (w/v) D-glucose.


Sugar alcohols Pentose sugars Saccharomyces cerevisiae Pentose phosphate pathway D-ribose Ribitol NMR 



Dr. Peter Richard is acknowledged for providing the gapB plasmid. Dr. Kari Koivuranta is acknowledged for providing the transketolase-deficient strain H2926. M.Sc. Ritva Verho is thanked for the strain H2493. Prof. Eckhard Boles is thanked for providing the GDH2 plasmid YEpMSP3-T. Dr. Marilyn Wiebe is acknowledged for helpful discussions and critical reading of the manuscript. Pirjo Tähtinen, Outi Könönen, and Merja Helanterä are thanked for excellent technical assistance. Helena Simolin and Marita Ikonen are thanked for the Dionex HPLC analysis.

The financial support from Danisco sweeteners and Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation (project 4007/96), and Finnish Academy (Centre of Excellence in White Biotechnology—Green Chemistry, project 118573) is gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mervi H. Toivari
    • 1
  • Hannu Maaheimo
    • 1
  • Merja Penttilä
    • 1
  • Laura Ruohonen
    • 1
  1. 1.VTT Technical Research Centre of FinlandEspooFinland

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