Engineering of Saccharomyces cerevisiae for the synthesis of short chain fatty acids

Authors

  • Christopher Leber,

    1. Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, The Henry Samueli School of Engineering, University of California, Irvine, California
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  • Nancy A. Da Silva

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, The Henry Samueli School of Engineering, University of California, Irvine, California
    • Correspondence to: N.A. Da Silva

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ABSTRACT

Carbon feedstocks from fossilized sources are being rapidly depleted due to rising demand for industrial and commercial applications. Many petroleum-derived chemicals can be directly or functionally substituted with chemicals derived from renewable feedstocks. Several short chain organic acids may fulfill this role using their functional groups as a target for chemical catalysis. Saccharomyces cerevisiae was engineered to produce short chain carboxylic acids (C6 to C10) from glucose using the heterologous Homo sapiens type I fatty acid synthase (hFAS). This synthase was activated by phosphopantetheine transfereases AcpS and Sfp from Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis, respectively, both in vitro and in vivo. hFAS was produced in the holo-form and produced carboxylic acids in vitro, confirmed by NADPH and ADIFAB assays. Overexpression of hFAS in a yeast FAS2 knockout strain, deficient in de novo fatty acid synthesis, demonstrated the full functional replacement of the native fungal FAS by hFAS. Two active heterologous short chain thioesterases (TEs) from Cuphea palustris (CpFatB1) and Rattus norvegicus (TEII) were evaluated for short chain fatty acid (SCFA) synthesis in vitro and in vivo. Three hFAS mutants were constructed: a mutant deficient in the native TE domain, a mutant with a linked CpFatB1 TE and a mutant with a linked TEII TE. Using the native yeast fatty acid synthase for growth, the overexpression of the hFAS mutants and the short-chain TEs (linked or plasmid-based) increased in vivo caprylic acid and total SCFA production up to 64-fold (63 mg/L) and 52-fold (68 mg/L), respectively, over the native yeast levels. Combined over-expression of the phosphopantetheine transferase with the hFAS mutant resulted in C8 titers of up to 82 mg/L and total SCFA titers of up to 111 mg/L. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2014;111: 347–358. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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