Plant Engineering to Enable Platforms for Sustainable Bioproduction of Terpenoids

Methods Mol Biol. 2024;2760:3-20. doi: 10.1007/978-1-0716-3658-9_1.


Terpenoids represent the most diverse class of natural products, with a broad spectrum of industrial relevance including applications in green solvents, flavors and fragrances, nutraceuticals, colorants, and therapeutics. They are typically challenging to extract from their natural sources, where they occur in small amounts and mixtures of related but unwanted byproducts. Formal chemical synthesis, where established, is reliant on petrochemistry. Hence, there is great interest in developing sustainable solutions to assemble biosynthetic pathways in engineered host organisms. Metabolic engineering for chemical production has largely focused on microbial hosts, yet plants offer a sustainable production platform. In addition to containing the precursor pathways that generate the terpenoid building blocks as well as the cell structures and compartments required, or tractable localization for the enzymes involved, plants may provide a low input system to produce these chemicals using carbon dioxide and sunlight only. There have been significant recent advancements in the discovery of pathways to terpenoids of interest as well as strategies to boost yields in host plants. While part of the phytochemical field is focusing on the discovery of biosynthetic pathways, this review will focus on advancements using the pathway toolbox and toward engineering plants for the production of terpenoids. We will highlight strategies currently used to produce target products, optimization of known pathways to improve yields, compartmentalization of pathways within cells, and genetic tools developed to facilitate complex engineering of biosynthetic pathways. These advancements in Synthetic Biology are bringing engineered plant systems closer to commercially relevant hosts for the bioproduction of terpenoids.

PMID:38468079 | DOI:10.1007/978-1-0716-3658-9_1