Harnessing yeast subcellular compartments for the production of plant terpenoids

Moran Farhi, Elena Marhevka, Tania Masci, Evgeniya Marcos, Yoram Eyal, Mariana Ovadis, Hagai Abeliovich, Alexander Vainstein*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

198 Scopus citations


The biologically and commercially important terpenoids are a large and diverse class of natural products that are targets of metabolic engineering. However, in the context of metabolic engineering, the otherwise well-documented spatial subcellular arrangement of metabolic enzyme complexes has been largely overlooked. To boost production of plant sesquiterpenes in yeast, we enhanced flux in the mevalonic acid pathway toward farnesyl diphosphate (FDP) accumulation, and evaluated the possibility of harnessing the mitochondria as an alternative to the cytosol for metabolic engineering. Overall, we achieved 8- and 20-fold improvement in the production of valencene and amorphadiene, respectively, in yeast co-engineered with a truncated and deregulated HMG1, mitochondrion-targeted heterologous FDP synthase and a mitochondrion-targeted sesquiterpene synthase, i.e. valencene or amorphadiene synthase. The prospect of harnessing different subcellular compartments opens new and intriguing possibilities for the metabolic engineering of pathways leading to valuable natural compounds.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)474-481
Number of pages8
JournalMetabolic Engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Mr. I. Kaye for his support and assistance. The authors would like to thank Dr. N.A. Da Silva, University of California, Irvine, for providing pδ-UB plasmid. This work was funded by Israel Science Foundation grant nos. 269/09 and 432/10 and BARD grant no. US-4322-10 . A.V. is an incumbent of the Wolfson Chair in Floriculture.


  • Amorphadiene
  • Isoprenoid
  • Metabolic engineering
  • Valencene


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