Engineering high-level production of fatty alcohols by Saccharomyces cerevisiae from lignocellulosic feedstocks

Leo d'Espaux, Amit Ghosh, Weerawat Runguphan, Maren Wehrs, Feng Xu, Oliver Konzock, Ishaan Dev, Melissa Nhan, Jennifer Gin, Amanda Reider Apel, Christopher J. Petzold, Seema Singh, Blake A. Simmons, Aindrila Mukhopadhyay, Hector García Martín, Jay D. Keasling

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Fatty alcohols in the C12-C18 range are used in personal care products, lubricants, and potentially biofuels. These compounds can be produced from the fatty acid pathway by a fatty acid reductase (FAR), yet yields from the preferred industrial host Saccharomyces cerevisiae remain under 2% of the theoretical maximum from glucose. Here we improved titer and yield of fatty alcohols using an approach involving quantitative analysis of protein levels and metabolic flux, engineering enzyme level and localization, pull-push-block engineering of carbon flux, and cofactor balancing. We compared four heterologous FARs, finding highest activity and endoplasmic reticulum localization from a Mus musculus FAR. After screening an additional twenty-one single-gene edits, we identified increasing FAR expression; deleting competing reactions encoded by DGA1, HFD1, and ADH6; overexpressing a mutant acetyl-CoA carboxylase; limiting NADPH and carbon usage by the glutamate dehydrogenase encoded by GDH1; and overexpressing the.9-desaturase encoded by OLE1 as successful strategies to improve titer. Our final strain produced 1.2 g/L fatty alcohols in shake flasks, and 6.0 g/L in fed-batch fermentation, corresponding to similar to 20% of the maximum theoretical yield from glucose, the highest titers and yields reported to date in S. cerevisiae. We further demonstrate high-level production from lignocellulosic feedstocks derived from ionic-liquid treated switchgrass and sorghum, reaching 0.7 g/L in shake flasks. Altogether, our work represents progress towards efficient and renewable microbial production of fatty acidderived products.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMetabolic Engineering
Pages (from-to)115-125
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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