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Biotechnol Bioeng. 2018 Mar;115(3):694-704. doi: 10.1002/bit.26493. Epub 2017 Nov 27.

Ty1-fused protein-body formation for spatial organization of metabolic pathways in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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Biotechnology Process Engineering Center, Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology (KRIBB), Cheongju, Republic of Korea.
Department of Bioprocess Engineering, KRIBB School of Biotechnology, Korea University of Science and Technology (UST), Daejeon, Republic of Korea.
School of Biology and Basic Medical Sciences, Soochow University, Suzhou, P.R. China.
Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy Research Center, Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology (KRIBB), Daejeon, Republic of Korea.
Division of Applied Life Science (BK21 Plus), PMBBRC, Gyeongsang National University, Jinju, Republic of Korea.


Metabolite production through a multistep metabolic pathway can often be increased by efficient substrate channeling created by spatial sequestration of the metabolic reactions. Here, Tya, a structural component in the Ty1 retrotransposon element that forms virus-like particles (VLPs) in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, was used to spatially organize enzymes involved in a metabolic pathway into a multi-enzyme protein body in yeast. As a proof of principle, Tya fusion to three key enzymes involved in biosynthesis of the isoprenoids farnesene and farnesol was tested to assess its potential to improve productivity. The Tya-fusion protein resulted in three and fourfold increases in farnesene and farnesol production, respectively, as compared with that observed in a non-fused control. Specifically, two-phase partitioning fed-batch fermentations of S. cerevisiae ATCC200589 overexpressing Tya-fused enzymes (tHmg1, IspA, and α-farnesene synthase) yielded 930 ± 40 mg/L of farnesene after 7 days. Additionally, we observed that the Tya-fusion proteins tended to partition into particulate fractions upon 100,000g ultracentrifugation, suggesting the formation of large aggregates of protein bodies, with their particulate structure also observed by transmission electron microscopy. The dramatic increase in the biosynthetic productivity of metabolites via use of a Tya-fusion protein suggested that this approach might be useful for the creation of multi-enzyme complexes to improve metabolic engineering in yeast.


Saccharomyces cerevisiae; Ty1; isoprenoids; protein body; virus-like particles

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