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Functional genomics of lipid metabolism in the oleaginous yeast Rhodosporidium toruloides

By Samuel T. Coradetti, Dominic Pinel, Gina Geiselman, Masakazu Ito, Stephen Mondo, Morgann C Reilly, Ya-Fang Cheng, Stefan Bauer, Igor V Grigoriev, John M Gladden, Blake A Simmons, Rachel B Brem, Adam P Arkin, Jeffrey M Skerker

Posted 19 Sep 2017
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/190546 (published DOI: 10.7554/elife.32110)

The basidomycete yeast Rhodosporidium toruloides (a.k.a. Rhodotorula toruloides) accumulates high concentrations of lipids and carotenoids from diverse carbon sources. It has great potential as a model for the cellular biology of lipid droplets and for sustainable chemical production. We developed a method for high-throughput genetics (RB-TDNAseq), using sequence-barcoded Agrobacterium tumefaciens T-DNA insertions into the R. toruloides genome. We identified 1337 putative essential genes with low T-DNA insertion rates. We functionally profiled genes required for fatty acid catabolism and lipid accumulation, validating results with 35 targeted deletion strains. We found that both mitochondrial and peroxisomal enzymes were required for growth on fatty acids, with different peroxisomal enzymes required on different fatty acids. We identified a high-confidence set of 150 genes affecting lipid accumulation, including genes with predicted function in signaling cascades, gene expression, protein modification and vesicular trafficking, autophagy, amino acid synthesis and tRNA modification, as well as genes of unknown function. These results greatly advance our understanding of lipid metabolism in this oleaginous species, identify key biological processes to be further explored and optimized for production of lipid-based bioproducts, and demonstrate a general approach for barcoded mutagenesis that should enable functional genomics in diverse fungi.

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