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      Engineering yeast metabolism for production of terpenoids for use as perfume ingredients, pharmaceuticals and biofuels

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      FEMS Yeast Research

      Oxford University Press (OUP)

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          Production of the antimalarial drug precursor artemisinic acid in engineered yeast.

          Malaria is a global health problem that threatens 300-500 million people and kills more than one million people annually. Disease control is hampered by the occurrence of multi-drug-resistant strains of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Synthetic antimalarial drugs and malarial vaccines are currently being developed, but their efficacy against malaria awaits rigorous clinical testing. Artemisinin, a sesquiterpene lactone endoperoxide extracted from Artemisia annua L (family Asteraceae; commonly known as sweet wormwood), is highly effective against multi-drug-resistant Plasmodium spp., but is in short supply and unaffordable to most malaria sufferers. Although total synthesis of artemisinin is difficult and costly, the semi-synthesis of artemisinin or any derivative from microbially sourced artemisinic acid, its immediate precursor, could be a cost-effective, environmentally friendly, high-quality and reliable source of artemisinin. Here we report the engineering of Saccharomyces cerevisiae to produce high titres (up to 100 mg l(-1)) of artemisinic acid using an engineered mevalonate pathway, amorphadiene synthase, and a novel cytochrome P450 monooxygenase (CYP71AV1) from A. annua that performs a three-step oxidation of amorpha-4,11-diene to artemisinic acid. The synthesized artemisinic acid is transported out and retained on the outside of the engineered yeast, meaning that a simple and inexpensive purification process can be used to obtain the desired product. Although the engineered yeast is already capable of producing artemisinic acid at a significantly higher specific productivity than A. annua, yield optimization and industrial scale-up will be required to raise artemisinic acid production to a level high enough to reduce artemisinin combination therapies to significantly below their current prices.
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            Production of amorphadiene in yeast, and its conversion to dihydroartemisinic acid, precursor to the antimalarial agent artemisinin.

            Malaria, caused by Plasmodium sp, results in almost one million deaths and over 200 million new infections annually. The World Health Organization has recommended that artemisinin-based combination therapies be used for treatment of malaria. Artemisinin is a sesquiterpene lactone isolated from the plant Artemisia annua. However, the supply and price of artemisinin fluctuate greatly, and an alternative production method would be valuable to increase availability. We describe progress toward the goal of developing a supply of semisynthetic artemisinin based on production of the artemisinin precursor amorpha-4,11-diene by fermentation from engineered Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and its chemical conversion to dihydroartemisinic acid, which can be subsequently converted to artemisinin. Previous efforts to produce artemisinin precursors used S. cerevisiae S288C overexpressing selected genes of the mevalonate pathway [Ro et al. (2006) Nature 440:940-943]. We have now overexpressed every enzyme of the mevalonate pathway to ERG20 in S. cerevisiae CEN.PK2, and compared production to CEN.PK2 engineered identically to the previously engineered S288C strain. Overexpressing every enzyme of the mevalonate pathway doubled artemisinic acid production, however, amorpha-4,11-diene production was 10-fold higher than artemisinic acid. We therefore focused on amorpha-4,11-diene production. Development of fermentation processes for the reengineered CEN.PK2 amorpha-4,11-diene strain led to production of > 40 g/L product. A chemical process was developed to convert amorpha-4,11-diene to dihydroartemisinic acid, which could subsequently be converted to artemisinin. The strains and procedures described represent a complete process for production of semisynthetic artemisinin.
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              Total synthesis of taxol.

              Taxol, a substance originally isolated from the Pacific yew tree (Taxus brevifolia) more than two decades ago, has recently been approved for the clinical treatment of cancer patients. Hailed as having provided one of the most significant advances in cancer therapy, this molecule exerts its anticancer activity by inhibiting mitosis through enhancement of the polymerization of tubulin and consequent stabilization of microtubules. The scarcity of taxol and the ecological impact of harvesting it have prompted extension searches for alternative sources including semisynthesis, cellular culture production and chemical synthesis. The latter has been attempted for almost two decades, but these attempts have been thwarted by the magnitude of the synthetic challenge. Here we report the total synthesis of taxol by a convergent strategy, which opens a chemical pathway for the production of both the natural product itself and a variety of designed taxoids.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                FEMS Yeast Research
                Oxford University Press (OUP)
                1567-1364
                October 31 2017
                December 01 2017
                December 2017
                October 31 2017
                December 01 2017
                December 2017
                : 17
                : 8
                Article
                10.1093/femsyr/fox080
                © 2017

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