De novo production of bioactive sesterterpenoid ophiobolins in Saccharomyces cerevisiae cell factories


Microb Cell Fact. 2024 May 6;23(1):129. doi: 10.1186/s12934-024-02406-0.


BACKGROUND: Sesterterpenoids are rare species among the terpenoids family. Ophiobolins are sesterterpenes with a 5-8-5 tricyclic skeleton. The oxidized ophiobolins exhibit significant cytotoxic activity and potential medicinal value. There is an urgent need for large amounts of ophiobolins supplication for drug development. The synthetic biology approach has been successfully employed in lots of terpene compound production and inspired us to develop a cell factory for ophiobolin biosynthesis.

RESULTS: We developed a systematic metabolic engineering strategy to construct an ophiobolin biosynthesis chassis based on Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The whole-cell biotransformation methods were further combined with metabolic engineering to enhance the expression of key ophiobolin biosynthetic genes and improve the supply of precursors and cofactors. A high yield of 5.1 g/L of ophiobolin F was reached using ethanol and fatty acids as substrates. To accumulate oxidized ophiobolins, we optimized the sources and expression conditions for P450-CPR and alleviated the toxicity of bioactive compounds to cells through PDR engineering. We unexpectedly obtained a novel ophiobolin intermediate with potent cytotoxicity, 5-hydroxy-21-formyl-ophiobolin F, and the known bioactive compound ophiobolin U. Finally, we achieved the ophiobolin U titer of 128.9 mg/L.

CONCLUSIONS: We established efficient cell factories based on S. cerevisiae, enabling de novo biosynthesis of the ophiobolin skeleton ophiobolin F and oxidized ophiobolins derivatives. This work has filled the gap in the heterologous biosynthesis of sesterterpenoids in S. cerevisiae and provided valuable solutions for new drug development based on sesterterpenoids.

PMID:38711040 | DOI:10.1186/s12934-024-02406-0