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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1998 Oct;64(10):3784-90.

Biocatalyst engineering by assembly of fatty acid transport and oxidation activities for In vivo application of cytochrome P-450BM-3 monooxygenase.

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  • 1Institute of Biotechnology, ETH Hönggerberg HPT, 8093 Zürich, Switzerland.


The application of whole cells containing cytochrome P-450BM-3 monooxygenase [EC] for the bioconversion of long-chain saturated fatty acids to omega-1, omega-2, and omega-3 hydroxy fatty acids was investigated. We utilized pentadecanoic acid and studied its conversion to a mixture of 12-, 13-, and 14-hydroxypentadecanoic acids by this monooxygenase. For this purpose, Escherichia coli recombinants containing plasmid pCYP102 producing the fatty acid monooxygenase cytochrome P-450BM-3 were used. To overcome inefficient uptake of pentadecanoic acid by intact E. coli cells, we made use of a cloned fatty acid uptake system from Pseudomonas oleovorans which, in contrast to the common FadL fatty acid uptake system of E. coli, does not require coupling by FadD (acyl-coenzyme A synthetase) of the imported fatty acid to coenzyme A. This system from P. oleovorans is encoded by a gene carried by plasmid pGEc47, which has been shown to effect facilitated uptake of oleic acid in E. coli W3110 (M. Nieboer, Ph.D. thesis, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands, 1996). By using a double recombinant of E. coli K27, which is a fadD mutant and therefore unable to consume substrates or products via the beta-oxidation cycle, a twofold increase in productivity was achieved. Applying cytochrome P-450BM-3 monooxygenase as a biocatalyst in whole cells does not require the exogenous addition of the costly cofactor NADPH. In combination with the coenzyme A-independent fatty acid uptake system from P. oleovorans, cytochrome P-450BM-3 recombinants appear to be useful alternatives to the enzymatic approach for the bioconversion of long-chain fatty acids to subterminal hydroxylated fatty acids.

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