This report describes a transformation system leading to stable high copy number integration into the ribosomal DNA (rDNA) of the astaxanthin-producing yeast Phaffia rhodozyma. A plasmid was constructed that contains the transposon Tn5 encoded kanamycin resistance gene (KmR) fused in frame to the 5'-terminal portion of the Phaffia actin gene. This marker, driven by the Phaffia actin promoter, confers resistance to G418 (Geneticin). The plasmid also contains a rDNA portion that comprises the 18S rDNA and promotes high copy integration leading to stable Phaffia transformants that maintained the plasmid at high copy number after 15 generations of non-selective growth. Phaffia, strain CBS 6938, was found to contain the rDNA units in clusters distributed over three chromosomes with a total copy number of 61. Phaffia transformants were shown to have over 50 copies of pGB-Ph9 integrated in tandem in chromosomes that contain rDNA loci. The chromosomal shifts that occur as a result of these integrations as shown by pulsed field electrophoresis strongly suggest that Phaffia is haploid.
Wery, J., Gutker, D., Renniers, A. C. H. M., Verdoes, J. C., & van Ooyen, A. J. J. (1997). High copy number integration into the ribosomal DNA of the yeast Phaffia rhodozyma. Gene, 184, 89-97. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0378-1119(96)00579-3