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Combining Gal4p-mediated expression enhancement and directed evolution of isoprene synthase to improve isoprene production in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Wang, Fan, Lv, Xiaomei, Xie, Wenping, Zhou, Pingping, Zhu, Yongqiang, Yao, Zhen, Yang, Chengcheng, Yang, Xiaohong, Ye, Lidan, Yu, Hongwei
Metabolic engineering 2017 v.39 pp. 257-266
Saccharomyces cerevisiae, batch fermentation, biosynthesis, carbon, catalytic activity, directed evolution, engineering, galactose, gene overexpression, isoprene, mevalonic acid, mutagenesis, mutants, screening, sucrose, toxicity, transactivators
Current studies on microbial isoprene biosynthesis have mostly focused on regulation of the upstream mevalonic acid (MVA) or methyl-erythritol-4-phosphate (MEP) pathway. However, the downstream bottleneck restricting isoprene biosynthesis capacity caused by the weak expression and low activity of plant isoprene synthase (ISPS) under microbial fermentation conditions remains to be alleviated. Here, based on a previously constructed Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain with enhanced precursor supply, we strengthened the downstream pathway through increasing both the expression and activity of ISPS to further improve isoprene production. Firstly, a two-level expression enhancement system was developed for the PGAL1-controlled ISPS by overexpression of GAL 4. Meanwhile, the native GAL1/7/10 promoters were deleted to avoid competition for the transcriptional activator Gal4p, and GAL80 was disrupted to eliminate the dependency of gene expression on galactose induction. The IspS expression was obviously elevated upon enhanced Gal4p supply, and the isoprene production was improved from 6.0mg/L to 23.6mg/L in sealed-vial cultures with sucrose as carbon source. Subsequently, a novel high-throughput screening method was developed based on precursor toxicity and used for ISPS directed evolution towards enhanced catalytic activity. Combinatorial mutagenesis of the resulting ISPS mutants generated the best mutant ISPSM4, introduction of which into the GAL4-overexpressing strain YXM29 achieved 50.2mg/L of isoprene in sealed vials, and the isoprene production reached 640mg/L and 3.7g/L in aerobic batch and fed-batch fermentations, respectively. These results demonstrated the effectiveness of the proposed combinatorial engineering strategy in isoprene biosynthesis, which might also be feasible and instructive for biotechnological production of other valuable chemicals.