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

An Erratum to this article was published on 12 July 2017

This article has been updated


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.

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  • 12 July 2017

    An erratum to this article has been published.


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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).

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Correspondence to P. Fickers.

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Carly, F., Gamboa-Melendez, H., Vandermies, M. et al. Identification and characterization of EYK1, a key gene for erythritol catabolism in Yarrowia lipolytica . Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 101, 6587–6596 (2017).

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  • Yarrowia lipolytica
  • Erythritol
  • Erythrulose kinase