Efficient synthesis of limonene production in Yarrowia lipolytica by combinatorial engineering strategies


Biotechnol Biofuels Bioprod. 2024 Jul 3;17(1):94. doi: 10.1186/s13068-024-02535-z.


BACKGROUND: Limonene has a variety of applications in the foods, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, biomaterials, and biofuels industries. In order to meet the growing demand for sustainable production of limonene at industry scale, it is essential to find an alternative production system to traditional plant extraction. A promising and eco-friendly alternative is the use of microbes as cell factories for the synthesis of limonene.

RESULTS: In this study, the oleaginous yeast Yarrowia lipolytica has been engineered to produce D- and L-limonene. Four target genes, l- or d-LS (limonene synthase), HMG (HMG-CoA reductase), ERG20 (geranyl diphosphate synthase), and NDPS1 (neryl diphosphate) were expressed individually or fused together to find the optimal combination for higher limonene production. The strain expressing HMGR and the fusion protein ERG20-LS was the best limonene producer and, therefore, selected for further improvement. By increasing the expression of target genes and optimizing initial OD, 29.4 mg/L of L-limonene and 24.8 mg/L of D-limonene were obtained. We also studied whether peroxisomal compartmentalization of the synthesis pathway was beneficial for limonene production. The introduction of D-LS and ERG20 within the peroxisome improved limonene titers over cytosolic expression. Then, the entire MVA pathway was targeted to the peroxisome to improve precursor supply, which increased D-limonene production to 47.8 mg/L. Finally, through the optimization of fermentation conditions, D-limonene production titer reached 69.3 mg/L.

CONCLUSIONS: In this work, Y. lipolytica was successfully engineered to produce limonene. Our results showed that higher production of limonene was achieved when the synthesis pathway was targeted to the peroxisome, which indicates that this organelle can favor the bioproduction of terpenes in yeasts. This study opens new avenues for the efficient synthesis of valuable monoterpenes in Y. lipolytica.

PMID:38961416 | DOI:10.1186/s13068-024-02535-z