Enzymes for Aerobic Degradation of Alkanes in Yeasts
A wide variety of yeasts can utilize n-alkanes as sole carbon and energy sources. The degradation pathways of n-alkanes in yeasts and the enzymes associated with these pathways have been studied intensively in the ascomycetous yeasts, Candida tropicalis, Candida maltosa, and Yarrowia lipolytica, for biotechnological applications, such as conversion of n-alkanes to proteins or useful compounds, as well as for elucidating the metabolism of hydrophobic substrates by fungi. Here, we describe the aerobic degradation pathway of n-alkanes in yeasts and the enzymes that catalyze the reactions involved in the degradation. In n-alkane-assimilating yeasts, incorporated n-alkanes are hydroxylated to fatty alcohols by cytochromes P450 of the CYP52 family in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Fatty alcohols are oxidized in the ER or the peroxisome to fatty aldehydes and finally to fatty acids, which are then activated to acyl-CoAs and metabolized by β-oxidation or used for lipid synthesis.
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