Definitive screening accelerates Taxol biosynthetic pathway optimization and scale up in Saccharomyces cerevisiae cell factories

Laura E. Walls, José L. Martinez, E. Antonio Del Rio Chanona, Leonardo Rios-Solis*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Recent technological advancements in synthetic and systems biology have enabled the construction of microbial cell factories expressing diverse heterologous pathways in unprecedentedly short time scales. However, the translation of such laboratory scale breakthroughs to industrial bioprocesses remains a major bottleneck. In this study, an accelerated bioprocess development approach was employed to optimize the biosynthetic pathway of the blockbuster chemotherapy drug, Taxol. Statistical design of experiments approaches were coupled with an industrially relevant high-throughput microbioreactor system to optimize production of key Taxol intermediates, Taxadien-5α-ol and Taxadien-5α-yl-acetate, in engineered yeast cell factories. The optimal factor combination was determined via data driven statistical modelling and validated in 1L bioreactors leading to a 2.1-fold improvement in taxane production compared to a typical defined media. Elucidation and mitigation of nutrient limitation enhanced product titers a further two-fold and titers of the critical Taxol precursors, Taxadien-5α-ol and Taxadien-5α-yl-acetate were improved to 34 and 11 mg/L, representing a three-fold improvement compared to the highest literature titers in S. cerevisiae. Comparable titers were obtained when the process was scaled up a further five-fold using 5L bioreactors. The results of this study highlight the benefits of a holistic design of experiments guided approach to expedite early stage bioprocess development. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2100414
JournalBiotechnology Journal
Issue number1
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Bioprocess optimization
  • Definitive screening design
  • High-throughput microbioreactor
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • Taxol


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