Zhu Z, Zhou YJ, Kang MK, Krivoruchko A, Buijs NA, Nielsen J
Metab. Eng. 44 (-) 81-88 [2017-11-00; online 2017-09-20]
Microbial synthesis of medium chain aliphatic hydrocarbons, attractive drop-in molecules to gasoline and jet fuels, is a promising way to reduce our reliance on petroleum-based fuels. In this study, we enabled the synthesis of straight chain hydrocarbons (C7-C13) by yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae through engineering fatty acid synthases to control the chain length of fatty acids and introducing heterologous pathways for alkane or 1-alkene synthesis. We carried out enzyme engineering/screening of the fatty aldehyde deformylating oxygenase (ADO), and compartmentalization of the alkane biosynthesis pathway into peroxisomes to improve alkane production. The two-step synthesis of alkanes was found to be inefficient due to the formation of alcohols derived from aldehyde intermediates. Alternatively, the drain of aldehyde intermediates could be circumvented by introducing a one-step decarboxylation of fatty acids to 1-alkenes, which could be synthesized at a level of 3mg/L, 25-fold higher than that of alkanes produced via aldehydes.