Researchers engineer probiotic yeast to produce beta-carotene


Saccharomyces cerevisiae, SEM picture. Credit: Mogana Das Murtey and Patchamuthu Ramasamy/CC BY-SA 3.0

Researchers have genetically engineered a probiotic yeast to produce beta-carotene within the guts of laboratory mice. The advance demonstrates the utility of labor the researchers have executed to element how a set of genetic engineering instruments can be utilized to modify the yeast.

“There are clear advantages to being able to engineer probiotics so that they produce the desired molecules right where they are needed,” says Nathan Crook, corresponding writer of the examine and an assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at North Carolina State University. “You’re not just delivering drugs or nutrients; you are effectively manufacturing the drugs or nutrients on site.”

The examine targeted on a probiotic yeast referred to as Saccharomyces boulardii. It is taken into account probiotic as a result of it could survive and thrive within the intestine, whereas most different yeast species both cannot tolerate the warmth or are damaged down by abdomen acid. It can also inhibit sure intestine infections.

Previous analysis had proven that it was attainable to modify S. boulardii to produce a particular protein within the mouse intestine. And there are numerous well-established instruments for genetically engineering baker’s yeast, S. cerevisiae—which is utilized in all kinds of biomanufacturing purposes. Crook and his collaborators needed to get a greater understanding of which genetic engineering instruments would work in S. boulardii.

Specifically, the researchers checked out two instruments which are broadly used for gene modifying with the CRISPR system and dozens of instruments that have been developed particularly for modifying S. cerevisiae.

“We were a little surprised to learn that most of the S. cerevisiae tools worked really well in S. boulardii,” Crook says. “Honestly, we were relieved because, while they are genetically similar, the differences between the two species are what make S. boulardii so interesting, from a therapeutic perspective.”

Once that they had established the viability of the toolkit, researchers selected to show its performance modifying S. boulardii to produce beta-carotene. Their rationale was each prosaic and bold.

“On the one hand, beta-carotene is orange—so we could tell how well we were doing just by looking at the colonies of yeast on a petri dish: they literally changed color,” Crook says. “On a more ambitious level, we knew that beta-carotene is a major provitamin A carotenoid, which means that it can be converted into vitamin A by the body—and we knew that vitamin A deficiency is a major public health problem in many parts of the world. So why not try to develop something that has the potential to be useful?”

Researchers examined the modified S. boulardii in a mouse mannequin and located that the yeast cells efficiently created beta-carotene within the guts of mice.

“This is a proof of concept, so there are a lot of outstanding questions,” Crook says. “How much of this beta-carotene is getting absorbed by the mice? Are these biologically relevant amounts of beta-carotene? Would it work in humans? All of those are questions we’ll have to address in future work. But we’re excited to see what happens. And we’re excited that these tools are now publicly available for use by others in the research community.”

The paper, “In situ biomanufacturing of small molecules in the mammalian gut by probiotic Saccharomyces boulardii,” seems within the journal ACS Synthetic Biology.

Understanding probiotic yeast

More info:
ACS Synthetic Biology (2021).

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North Carolina State University

Researchers engineer probiotic yeast to produce beta-carotene (2021, April 12)
retrieved 12 April 2021

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