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Science. 2017 Sep 1;357(6354):903-907. doi: 10.1126/science.aan6349.

An algal photoenzyme converts fatty acids to hydrocarbons.

Author information

1
Biosciences and Biotechnologies Institute of Aix-Marseille (BIAM), Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives (CEA), CNRS and Aix-Marseille University, UMR 7265 LB3M, CEA Cadarache, F-13108, Saint-Paul-lez-Durance, France.
2
University Grenoble Alpes, CEA and INSERM, BIG-BGE, F-38000, Grenoble, France.
3
European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, 71 Avenue des Martyrs, CS 40220, F-38043 Grenoble, France.
4
Institute for Integrative Biology of the Cell (I2BC), CEA, CNRS, University Paris-Sud, University Paris-Saclay, F-91198, Gif-sur-Yvette cedex, France.
5
BIAM, CEA, CNRS and Aix-Marseille University, UMR 7265 LBC, CEA Cadarache, F-13108, Saint-Paul-lez-Durance, France.
6
Biosciences and Biotechnologies Institute of Aix-Marseille (BIAM), Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives (CEA), CNRS and Aix-Marseille University, UMR 7265 LB3M, CEA Cadarache, F-13108, Saint-Paul-lez-Durance, France. frederic.beisson@cea.fr.

Abstract

Although many organisms capture or respond to sunlight, few enzymes are known to be driven by light. Among these are DNA photolyases and the photosynthetic reaction centers. Here, we show that the microalga Chlorella variabilis NC64A harbors a photoenzyme that acts in lipid metabolism. This enzyme belongs to an algae-specific clade of the glucose-methanol-choline oxidoreductase family and catalyzes the decarboxylation of free fatty acids to n-alkanes or -alkenes in response to blue light. Crystal structure of the protein reveals a fatty acid-binding site in a hydrophobic tunnel leading to the light-capturing flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) cofactor. The decarboxylation is initiated through electron abstraction from the fatty acid by the photoexcited FAD with a quantum yield >80%. This photoenzyme, which we name fatty acid photodecarboxylase, may be useful in light-driven, bio-based production of hydrocarbons.

PMID:
28860382
DOI:
10.1126/science.aan6349
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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