Melanie Wijsman: Winner (2019) of the Best Article Award From FEMS Yeast Research

05-02-20 Joseph Shuttleworth

Melanie Wijsman is the winner of a 2019 article award from FEMS Yeast Research. She wins the award as the first author of the winning paper: A toolkit for rapid CRISPR-SpCas9 assisted construction of hexose-transport-deficient Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains; which is based on research she performed working at TU Delft. 

This is the first time that FEMS Yeast Research has presented such an award. We interviewed Melanie to out more about the paper when she visited the FEMS office in Delft to be awarded her prize :

Could you provide a brief, simple overview of the topic your paper covers?

Melanie receives her prize cheque at the FEMS office in Delft, a stones throw away from TU Delft where she performed the winning research.

In research toward the transport of sugars it is valuable to have hexose transporter-deficient yeast strains, so native and heterologous transporters can be studied. Previously, Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain EBY.VW4000 was constructed via deletion of 21 transporters by the LoxP/Cre system to abolish all hexose transport. However, repeated use of this system resulted in major chromosomal rearrangements, gene loss and phenotypic changes. In my study, a hexose transporter-deficient strain was constructed using CRISPR-SpCAS9, by deleting the 21 hexose transporters in S. cerevisiae of the CEN.PK family strain in only three deletion rounds. This study provides the new CRISPR-Hxt0 strain IMX1812 and supplies a CRISPR toolkit for removing all hexose transporter genes from most S. cerevisiae laboratory strains.”

Why is it important to be able to rapidly construct hexose-transport-deficient Saccharomyces cerevisiae using CRISPR-SpCas9?

With this novel technology in hand, researchers have access to a fast genome modification system which accelerates their further research and boosts productivity in other studies.”

What encouraged you to perform research in this area of microbiology?

(A) Overview of the chromosomal localization of the deleted hexose transporters. Genes indicated with the same color were removed in the same deletion round. Red, first round; blue, second round; green, third round. (B) Deletion strategy. The scissors indicate the gene targeted by SpCas9 editing. The circled numbers indicate the sgRNA used to guide SpCas9 for editing.

During my master internship, I worked on optimizing the CRISPR-SpCas9 system in S. cerevisiae ( and realized that a toolkit which other researchers could employ in their research would be highly rewarding and can boost the research output of this specific field. In this study, I tried to further optimize the system by simultaneously deleting even more genes, demonstrating the versatility of the CRISPR-SpCas9 system. This lead to the development of another novel toolkit, able to remove all hexose transporter genes.”

What do you see as the next steps in this area of research?

I think that CRISPR-SpCas9 should be implemented as a main genetic modification tool for now. However, I hope to see in the future that Cpf1 will complement Cas9 for genome engineering, however these endonucleases have to be further developed and standardized.”

Read the 2019 award winning paper: A toolkit for rapid CRISPR-SpCas9 assisted construction of hexose-transport-deficient Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains

See more FEMS Journals Article Awards

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