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Identification of long chain specific aldehyde reductase and its use in enhanced fatty alcohol production in E. coli

Identification of long chain specific aldehyde reductase and its use in enhanced fatty alcohol production in E. coli

Metabolic Engineering 37: 35-45

Long chain fatty alcohols have wide application in chemical industries and transportation sector. There is no direct natural reservoir for long chain fatty alcohol production, thus many groups explored metabolic engineering approaches for its microbial production. Escherichia coli has been the major microbial platform for this effort, however, terminal endogenous enzyme responsible for converting fatty aldehydes of chain length C14-C18 to corresponding fatty alcohols is still been elusive. Through our in silico analysis we selected 35 endogenous enzymes of E. coli having potential of converting long chain fatty aldehydes to fatty alcohols and studied their role under in vivo condition. We found that deletion of ybbO gene, which encodes NADP(+) dependent aldehyde reductase, led to >90% reduction in long chain fatty alcohol production. This feature was found to be strain transcending and reinstalling ybbO gene via plasmid retained the ability of mutant to produce long chain fatty alcohols. Enzyme kinetic study revealed that YbbO has wide substrate specificity ranging from C6 to C18 aldehyde, with maximum affinity and efficiency for C18 and C16 chain length aldehyde, respectively. Along with endogenous production of fatty aldehyde via optimized heterologous expression of cyanobaterial acyl-ACP reductase (AAR), YbbO overexpression resulted in 169mg/L of long chain fatty alcohols. Further engineering involving modulation of fatty acid as well as of phospholipid biosynthesis pathway improved fatty alcohol production by 60%. Finally, the engineered strain produced 1989mg/L of long chain fatty alcohol in bioreactor under fed-batch cultivation condition. Our study shows for the first time a predominant role of a single enzyme in production of long chain fatty alcohols from fatty aldehydes as well as of modulation of phospholipid pathway in increasing the fatty alcohol production.

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Accession: 058039823

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PMID: 27134112

DOI: 10.1016/j.ymben.2016.04.003

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