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Novel approaches and achievements in biosynthesis of functional isoprenoids in Escherichia coli


Isoprenoids, also referred to as terpenes, are the most diverse class of natural products appearing in a variety of natural sources, specifically in higher plants, and have a wide range of biological functions. This review describes novel or recent approaches and achievements in pathway engineering of Escherichia coli towards efficient biosynthesis of functional isoprenoids, specifically carotenoids and sesquiterpene, following description of “regularity and simplicity” in the biosynthesis of isoprenoid basic structures. The introduction of heterologous mevalonate pathway-based genes into E. coli has been shown to improve the productivity of carotenoids or sesquiterpenes that are synthesized from farnesyl diphosphate. This achievement also enables relevant researchers to efficiently analyze an isolated gene candidate for a terpene synthase (terpene cyclase).

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This work was partially supported as a part of the Research and Development Program for New Bio-Industry Initiatives (2006-2010) of Bio-Oriented Technology Research Advancement Institution.

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Correspondence to Norihiko Misawa.

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Harada, H., Misawa, N. Novel approaches and achievements in biosynthesis of functional isoprenoids in Escherichia coli . Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 84, 1021–1031 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00253-009-2166-6

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  • α-Humulene
  • Lycopene
  • Sesquiterpene
  • Triterpene
  • Carotenoids
  • Isoprenoid