Spontaneously established syntrophic yeast communities improve bioproduction

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Nutritional codependence (syntrophy) has underexplored potential to improve biotechnological processes by using cooperating cell types. So far, design of yeast syntrophic communities has required extensive genetic manipulation, as the co-inoculation of most eukaryotic microbial auxotrophs does not result in cooperative growth. Here we employ high-throughput phenotypic screening to systematically test pairwise combinations of auxotrophic Saccharomyces cerevisiae deletion mutants. Although most coculture pairs do not enter syntrophic growth, we identify 49 pairs that spontaneously form syntrophic, synergistic communities. We characterized the stability and growth dynamics of nine cocultures and demonstrated that a pair of tryptophan auxotrophs grow by exchanging a pathway intermediate rather than end products. We then introduced a malonic semialdehyde biosynthesis pathway split between different pairs of auxotrophs, which resulted in increased production. Our results report the spontaneous formation of stable syntrophy in S. cerevisiae auxotrophs and illustrate the biotechnological potential of dividing labor in a cooperating intraspecies community.

Journal details

Volume 19
Issue number 8
Pages 951-961
Available online
Publication date