O-025. Overexpression of the Pentose Phosphate Pathway Gene, ZWF1, Protects Yeast from Furfural Induced Cellular Damage

S. W. Gorsich, S. Allen, W. Clark, Z. Cai;
Central Michigan Univ., Mount Pleasant, MI.

The renewable fuel, bioethanol, has environmental, political, and economical benefits compared to existing fossil fuels. However, current technology prevents us from reaching bioethanol goals necessary for our fuel demands. To reach these goals, it will be necessary to use lignocellulosic biomass substrates. Such substrates include agricultural, industrial, and municipal waste products. Currently, several technological barriers need to be solved before these substrates can be used to ferment ethanol in an industrial setting. For instance, the acid pretreatment process necessary to release fermentable sugars also generates multiple inhibitors. Two of the main yeast inhibitors are furan aldehydes, furfural and 5-hydroxymethylfurfural. These inhibitors block several biochemical enzymes, prevent cellular growth, reduce ethanol yields, and cause severe intracellular damage to membranes, DNA, and the cytoskeleton. The pentose phosphate pathway (PPP) has been identified as functioning in protecting yeast from furfural-induced stress. We now show that overexpressing the PPP gene, ZWF1, will protect yeast against furfural. Furfural-induced intracellular damage in these cells is less severe as is indicated by reduced damage to intracellular membranes, actin, and nuclear chromatin. This ultimately results in a faster growth recovery when furfural is present. Due to the established role of ZWF1 in protecting cells against oxidative damage, we propose that by overexpressing ZWF1 the cell is able to protect and repair itself more rapidly to the oxidative damage caused by furfural - thus allowing cells to be more tolerant to higher concentrations of furfural.

177/O. Proteomics, Microarray Analysis and Genomics

Tuesday, 1:00 pm | Poster Hall