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Engineered mitochondrial production of monoterpenes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Yee, Danielle A., DeNicola, Anthony B., Billingsley, John M., Creso, Jenette G., Subrahmanyam, Vidya, Tang, Yi
Metabolic engineering 2019 v.55 pp. 76-84
Catharanthus roseus, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, batch fermentation, biochemical pathways, engineering, enzymes, ergosterol, geraniol, indole alkaloids, mitochondria, yeasts
Monoterpene indole alkaloids (MIAs) from plants encompass a broad class of structurally complex and medicinally valuable natural products. MIAs are biologically derived from the universal precursor strictosidine. Although the strictosidine biosynthetic pathway has been identified and reconstituted, extensive work is required to optimize production of strictosidine and its precursors in yeast. In this study, we engineered a fully integrated and plasmid-free yeast strain with enhanced production of the monoterpene precursor geraniol. The geraniol biosynthetic pathway was targeted to the mitochondria to protect the GPP pool from consumption by the cytosolic ergosterol pathway. The mitochondrial geraniol producer showed a 6-fold increase in geraniol production compared to cytosolic producing strains. We further engineered the monoterpene-producing strain to synthesize the next intermediates in the strictosidine pathway: 8-hydroxygeraniol and nepetalactol. Integration of geraniol hydroxylase (G8H) from Catharanthus roseus led to essentially quantitative conversion of geraniol to 8-hydroxygeraniol at a titer of 227 mg/L in a fed-batch fermentation. Further introduction of geraniol oxidoreductase (GOR) and iridoid synthase (ISY) from C. roseus and tuning of the relative expression levels resulted in the first de novo nepetalactol production. The strategies developed in this work can facilitate future strain engineering for yeast production of later intermediates in the strictosidine biosynthetic pathway.