Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 101, Issue 17, pp 6587–6596 | Cite as

Identification and characterization of EYK1, a key gene for erythritol catabolism in Yarrowia lipolytica

  • F. Carly
  • H. Gamboa-Melendez
  • M. Vandermies
  • C. Damblon
  • J. M. Nicaud
  • P. FickersEmail author
Biotechnological products and process engineering


Erythritol is a four-carbon sugar alcohol synthesized by osmophilic yeasts, such as Yarrowia lipolytica, in response to osmotic stress. This metabolite has application as food additive due to its sweetening properties. Although Y. lipolytica can produce erythritol at a high level from glycerol, it is also able to consume it as carbon source. This ability negatively affects erythritol productivity and represents a serious drawback for the development of an efficient erythritol production process. In this study, we have isolated by insertion mutagenesis a Y. lipolytica mutant unable to grow on erythritol. Genomic characterization of the latter highlighted that the mutant phenotype is directly related to the disruption of the YALI0F01606g gene. Several experimental evidences suggested that the identified gene, renamed EYK1, encodes an erythrulose kinase. The mutant strain showed an enhanced capacity to produce erythritol as compared to the wild-type strain. Moreover, in specific experimental conditions, it is also able to convert erythritol to erythrulose, another compound of biotechnological interest.


Yarrowia lipolytica Erythritol Erythrulose kinase 



We thank Sandra Pizzut and Sophie Bozonnet at the Integrated Screening Platform of Toulouse (PICT) for screening the mutant library. F. Carly and M. Vandermies are recipients of a fellowship from the Fond pour la Formation à la Recherche dans l’Industrie et l’Agriculture (FRIA).

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

253_2017_8361_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (197 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 196 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Unité de Biotechnologies et BioprocédésUniversité Libre de BruxellesBrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.Micalis Institute, INRA, AgroParisTechUniversité Paris-SaclayJouy-en-JosasFrance
  3. 3.Microbial Processes and Interactions, TERRA Teaching and Research CentreUniversity of Liège—Gembloux Agro-Bio TechGemblouxBelgium
  4. 4.Laboratoire de Chimie Biologique Structurale, Département de ChimieUniversité de LiègeLiègeBelgium

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