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Non-conventional yeasts as cell factories for the synthesis of rProt and metabolites of biotechnological importance
Speaker Name
Prof. Patrick FICKERS
Speaker Detail

TERRA Research and Teaching Centre
Gembloux AgroBiotech, Univerity of Liege, Belgium

G4-701, 4/F, Yeung Kin Man Academic Building ,City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon Tong, Kowloon, Hong Kong

The production at industrial scale of recombinant proteins (rProt) and metabolites is of increasing economic importance. Among the different microbial chassis that have been developed for that purpose, yeasts are regarded as the preferred option for the production of recombinant enzymes, therapeutic proteins and metabolites. The main advantage of yeast over bacterial system such as Escherichia coli relies on the possibility to obtain post-translational modified proteins in the culture supernatant at a gram per liter scale. Historically, Saccharomyces cerevisiae has been used as the reference eukaryotic chassis, however it suffers several drawbacks such as low protein productivity, overflow metabolism and hyperglycosylation phenomenon. Moreover, it is less metabolically adapted to catabolize raw carbon and nitrogen sources, which are nowadays increasingly considered as feedstock in bioprocesses with the intention to reduce the process cost. Non-conventional yeasts, such as Pichia pastoris and Yarrowia lipolytica, are considered today as realistic alternatives to S. cerevisiae for these bioprocesses. They both combine advantages of growing at high cell density, to produce and secrete rProt and metabolite at high yield and to have low nutritional requirements, allowing thus to grow them on raw materials or industrial byproducts. Here we will present the peculiar physiological traits of both P. pastoris and Y. lipolytica that enabled the development metabolic engineering tools and efficient bioreactor production processes. Several examples will be detailed such as the sweetener erythritol biosynthesis in Y. lipolytica and the extracellular synthesis of lipase CalB in P. pastoris.

About the Speaker

Patrick Fickers (ORCID 0000-0002-2600-5833) has completed a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from University of Liège (Belgium) and Institut National Agronomic (Paris-France). After a postdoc at Polytech’Lille (France), he joined in 2005 the Centre of Protein Engineering (Liège, Belgium) as a FNRS Post-Doc fellow. From 2009 to 2014, he was an Associated Professor at Université libre de Bruxelles and the head of the Biotechnology and Bioprocess Unit. Since 2015, he is a Professor at Gembloux Agro BioTech, University of Liège, at TERRA Teaching and Research Centre heading a research group on non-conventional yeast biotechnology. He has published 70 research papers and reviews in peer-reviewed journals (H-index 19), 8 book chapters and 3 patents. His research activities are related to the development of yeast cell factories (Y. lipolytica and P. pastoris) by metabolic engineering/synthetic biology and on process development in bioreactor for the production of value added chemicals.