Metabolic engineering of the moss Physcomitrella patens to produce the sesquiterpenoids patchoulol and α/β-santalene

Xin Zhan, Yu-Hua Zhang, Dong-Fang Chen, Henrik Toft Simonsen

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The moss Physcomitrella patens, has been genetically engineered to produce patchoulol and beta-santalene, two valuable sesquiterpenoid ingredients in the fragrance industry. The highest yield of patchoulol achieved was 1.34 mg/g dry weight. This was achieved by non-targeted transformation of the patchoulol synthase and either a yeast or P. patens HMGR gene under the control of a 35S promoter. Santalene synthase targeted to the plastids yielded 0.039 mg/g dry weight of α/β santalene; cytosolic santalene synthase and 35S controlled HMGR afforded 0.022 mg/g dry weight. It has been observed that the final yield of the fragrance molecules is dependent on the expression of the synthase. This is the first report of heterologous production of sesquiterpenes in moss and it opens up a promising source for light-driven production of valuable fragrance ingredients.
Original languageEnglish
Article number636
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

© 2014 Zhan, Zhang, Chen and Simonsen. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.


  • Physcomitrella
  • Sesguiterpenoids
  • Fragrance
  • Patchoulol
  • Santalene


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