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Biotechnol Bioeng. 2008 Jun 1;100(2):371-8. doi: 10.1002/bit.21766.

Redirection of flux through the FPP branch-point in Saccharomyces cerevisiae by down-regulating squalene synthase.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.


Saccharomyces cerevisiae utilizes several regulatory mechanisms to maintain tight control over the intracellular level of farnesyl diphosphate (FPP), the central precursor to nearly all yeast isoprenoid products. High-level production of non-native isoprenoid products requires that FPP flux be diverted from production of sterols to the heterologous metabolic reactions. To do so, expression of the gene encoding squalene synthase (ERG9), the first committed step in sterol biosynthesis, was down-regulated by replacing its native promoter with the methionine-repressible MET3 promoter. The intracellular levels of FPP were then assayed by expressing the gene encoding amorphadiene synthase (ADS) and converting the FPP to amorphadiene. Under certain culture conditions amorphadiene production increased fivefold upon ERG9 repression. With increasing flux to amorphadiene, squalene and ergosterol production each decreased. The levels of these three metabolites were dependent not only upon the level of ERG9 repression, but also the timing of its repression relative to the induction of ADS and genes responsible for enhancing flux to FPP.

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