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Crop Biotech Update

Metabolic Engineering of Pichia pastoris for the Production of Dammarenediol-II

November 4, 2015

Dammarenediol-II is a ginsenoside, active compounds commonly found in Panax species that are of medicinal importance. In previous studies, a dammarenediol-II synthetic pathway was expressed in Pichia pastoris by introducing a dammarenediol-II synthase gene (PgDDS) from Panax ginseng.

To enhance productivity, researchers increased P. pastoris' production of 2,3-oxidosqualene, a precursor of dammarenediol-II. This was done by enhancing the expression of the ERG1 gene, which is responsible for 2,3-oxidosqualene synthesis. This significantly improved the yield of dammarenediol-II over 6.7-fold.

Researchers also reduced the competition for 2,3-oxidosqualene within P. pastoris without its growth. The team downregulated the ERG7 gene, which is responsible for conversion of 2,3-oxidosqualene to lanosterol. The yield of dammarenediol-II was further increased by more than 3.6-fold.

The P. pastoris strains engineered in this study constitute a good platform for further production of ginsenosides in Pichia species.

For further information, read the article in the Journal of Biotechnology.