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Effect of HXT1 and HXT7 hexose transporter overexpression on wild-type and lactic acid producing Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells

Giorgia Rossi1, Michael Sauer23, Danilo Porro1* and Paola Branduardi1

Author Affiliations

1 Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca, Department of Biotechnology and Bioscience, P.zza della Scienza 2, 20126 Milano, Italy

2 School of Bioengineering, FH Campus Wien, University of Applied Sciences, Muthgasse 18, 1190 Vienna, Austria

3 Department of Biotechnology, BOKU, University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Muthgasse 18, 1190 Vienna, Austria

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Microbial Cell Factories 2010, 9:15  doi:10.1186/1475-2859-9-15

Published: 9 March 2010



Since about three decades, Saccharomyces cerevisiae can be engineered to efficiently produce proteins and metabolites. Even recognizing that in baker's yeast one determining step for the glucose consumption rate is the sugar uptake, this fact has never been conceived to improve the metabolite(s) productivity.

In this work we compared the ethanol and/or the lactic acid production from wild type and metabolically engineered S. cerevisiae cells expressing an additional copy of one hexose transporter.


Different S. cerevisiae strains (wild type and metabolically engineered for lactic acid production) were transformed with the HXT1 or the HXT7 gene encoding for hexose transporters.

Data obtained suggest that the overexpression of an Hxt transporter may lead to an increase in glucose uptake that could result in an increased ethanol and/or lactic acid productivities. As a consequence of the increased productivity and of the reduced process timing, a higher production was measured.


Metabolic pathway manipulation for improving the properties and the productivity of microorganisms is a well established concept. A high production relies on a multi-factorial system. We showed that by modulating the first step of the pathway leading to lactic acid accumulation an improvement of about 15% in lactic acid production can be obtained in a yeast strain already developed for industrial application.