Identification of a residue affecting fatty alcohol selectivity in wax ester synthase.
ABSTRACT: The terminal enzyme in the bacterial wax ester biosynthetic pathway is the bifunctional wax ester synthase/acyl-coenzyme A:diacylglycerol acyltransferase (WS/DGAT), which utilizes a fatty alcohol and a fatty acyl-coenzyme A (CoA) to synthesize the corresponding wax ester. In this report, we identify a specific residue in WS/DGAT enzymes obtained from Marinobacter aquaeolei VT8 and Acinetobacter baylyi that alters fatty alcohol selectivity and kinetic parameters when modified to alternative residues.
Project description:Wax esters are produced in certain bacteria as a potential carbon and energy storage compound. The final enzyme in the biosynthetic pathway responsible for wax ester production is the bifunctional wax ester synthase/acyl-coenzyme A (acyl-CoA):diacylglycerol acyltransferase (WS/DGAT), which utilizes a range of fatty alcohols and fatty acyl-CoAs to synthesize the corresponding wax ester. We report here the isolation and substrate range characterization for five WS/DGAT enzymes from four different bacteria: Marinobacter aquaeolei VT8, Acinetobacter baylyi, Rhodococcus jostii RHA1, and Psychrobacter cryohalolentis K5. The results from kinetic studies of isolated enzymes reveal a differential activity based on the order of substrate addition and reveal subtle differences between the substrate selectivity of the different enzymes. These in vitro results are compared to the wax ester and triacylglyceride product profiles obtained from each organism grown under neutral lipid accumulating conditions, providing potential insights into the role that the WS/DGAT enzyme plays in determining the final wax ester products that are produced under conditions of nutrient stress in each of these bacteria. Further, the analysis revealed that one enzyme in particular from M. aquaeolei VT8 showed the greatest potential for future study based on rapid purification and significantly higher activity than was found for the other isolated WS/DGAT enzymes. The results provide a framework to test prospective differences between these enzymes for potential biotechnological applications such as high-value petrochemicals and biofuel production.
Project description:Marinobacter hydrocarbonoclasticus DSM 8798 has been reported to synthesize isoprenoid wax ester storage compounds when grown on phytol as the sole carbon source under limiting nitrogen and/or phosphorous conditions. We hypothesized that isoprenoid wax ester synthesis involves (i) activation of an isoprenoid fatty acid by a coenzyme A (CoA) synthetase and (ii) ester bond formation between an isoprenoid alcohol and isoprenoyl-CoA catalyzed, most likely, by an isoprenoid wax ester synthase similar to an acyl wax ester synthase, wax ester synthase/diacylglycerol acyltransferase (WS/DGAT), recently described from Acinetobacter sp. strain ADP1. We used the recently released rough draft genome sequence of a closely related strain, M. aquaeolei VT8, to search for WS/DGAT and acyl-CoA synthetase candidate genes. The sequence information from putative WS/DGAT and acyl-CoA synthetase genes identified in this strain was used to clone homologues from the isoprenoid wax ester synthesizing Marinobacter strain. The activities of the recombinant enzymes were characterized, and two new isoprenoid wax ester synthases capable of synthesizing isoprenoid ester and acyl/isoprenoid hybrid ester in vitro were identified along with an isoprenoid-specific CoA synthetase. One of the Marinobacter wax ester synthases displays several orders of magnitude higher activity toward acyl substrates than any previously characterized acyl-WS and may reflect adaptations to available carbon sources in their environments.
Project description:The functional characterization of wax biosynthetic enzymes in transgenic plants has opened the possibility of producing tailored wax esters (WEs) in the seeds of a suitable host crop. In this study, in addition to systematically evaluating a panel of WE biosynthetic activities, we have also modulated the acyl-CoA substrate pool, through the co-expression of acyl-ACP thioesterases, to direct the accumulation of medium-chain fatty acids. Using this combinatorial approach, we determined the additive contribution of both the varied acyl-CoA pool and biosynthetic enzyme substrate specificity to the accumulation of non-native WEs in the seeds of transgenic Camelina plants. A total of fourteen constructs were prepared containing selected FAR and WS genes in combination with an acyl-ACP thioesterase. All enzyme combinations led to the successful production of wax esters, of differing compositions. The impact of acyl-CoA thioesterase expression on wax ester accumulation varied depending on the substrate specificity of the WS. Hence, co-expression of acyl-ACP thioesterases with Marinobacter hydrocarbonoclasticus WS and Marinobacter aquaeolei FAR resulted in the production of WEs with reduced chain lengths, whereas the co-expression of the same acyl-ACP thioesterases in combination with Mus musculus WS and M. aquaeolei FAR had little impact on the overall final wax composition. This was despite substantial remodelling of the acyl-CoA pool, suggesting that these substrates were not efficiently incorporated into WEs. These results indicate that modification of the substrate pool requires careful selection of the WS and FAR activities for the successful high accumulation of these novel wax ester species in Camelina seeds.
Project description:Background:Biotechnology enables the production of high-valued industrial feedstocks from plant seed oil. The plant-derived wax esters with long-chain monounsaturated acyl moieties, like oleyl oleate, have favorite properties for lubrication. For biosynthesis of wax esters using acyl-CoA substrates, expressions of a fatty acyl reductase (FAR) and a wax synthase (WS) in seeds are sufficient. Results:For optimization of the enzymatic activity and subcellular localization of wax ester synthesis enzymes, two fusion proteins were created, which showed wax ester-forming activities in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. To promote the formation of oleyl oleate in seed oil, WSs from Acinetobactor baylyi (AbWSD1) and Marinobacter aquaeolei (MaWS2), as well as the two created fusion proteins were tested in Arabidopsis to evaluate their abilities and substrate preference for wax ester production. The tested seven enzyme combinations resulted in different yields and compositions of wax esters. Expression of a FAR of Marinobacter aquaeolei (MaFAR) with AbWSD1 or MaWS2 led to a high incorporation of C18 substrates in wax esters. The MaFAR/TMMmAWAT2-AbWSD1 combination resulted in the incorporation of more C18:1 alcohol and C18:0 acyl moieties into wax esters compared with MaFAR/AbWSD1. The fusion protein of a WS from Simmondsia chinensis (ScWS) with MaFAR exhibited higher specificity toward C20:1 substrates in preference to C18:1 substrates. Expression of MaFAR/AbWSD1 in the Arabidopsis fad2 fae1 double mutant resulted in the accumulation of oleyl oleate (18:1/18:1) in up to 62 mol% of total wax esters in seed oil, which was much higher than the 15 mol% reached by MaFAR/AbWSD1 in Arabidopsis Col-0 background. In order to increase the level of oleyl oleate in seed oil of Camelina, lines expressing MaFAR/ScWS were crossed with a transgenic high oleate line. The resulting plants accumulated up to >40 mg g seed-1 of wax esters, containing 27-34 mol% oleyl oleate. Conclusions:The overall yields and the compositions of wax esters can be strongly affected by the availability of acyl-CoA substrates and to a lesser extent, by the characteristics of wax ester synthesis enzymes. For synthesis of oleyl oleate in plant seed oil, appropriate wax ester synthesis enzymes with high catalytic efficiency and desired substrate specificity should be expressed in plant cells; meanwhile, high levels of oleic acid-derived substrates need to be supplied to these enzymes by modifying the fatty acid profile of developing seeds.
Project description:Triacylglycerols and wax esters are synthesized as energy storage molecules by some proteobacteria and actinobacteria under stress. The enzyme responsible for neutral lipid accumulation is the bifunctional wax ester synthase/acyl-coenzyme A (CoA):diacylglycerol acyltransferase (WS/DGAT). Structural modeling of WS/DGAT suggests that it can adopt an acyl-CoA-dependent acyltransferase fold with the N-terminal and C-terminal domains connected by a helical linker, an architecture demonstrated experimentally by limited proteolysis. Moreover, we found that both domains form an active complex when coexpressed as independent polypeptides. The structural prediction and sequence alignment of different WS/DGAT proteins indicated catalytically important motifs in the enzyme. Their role was probed by measuring the activities of a series of alanine scanning mutants. Our study underscores the structural understanding of this protein family and paves the way for their modification to improve the production of neutral lipids.
Project description:Wax esters are high-value products whose enzymatic synthesis is of increasing biotechnological interest. The fabrication of cell factories that mass-produce wax esters may provide a facile route towards a sustainable, and environment-friendly approach to a large-scale process for this commodity chemical. An expedient route for wax-ester biocatalysis may be facilitated by the action of enzymes termed wax ester synthases/diacylglycerol acyltransferases (WS/DGAT), which produce wax esters using fatty acids and alcohols as a precursor. In this work, we report the structure for a member of the WS/DGAT superfamily. The structural data in conjunction with bioinformatics and mutational analyses allowed us to identify the substrate binding pockets, and residues that may be important for catalysis. Using this information as a guide, we generated a mutant with preference towards shorter acyl-substrates. This study demonstrates the efficacy of a structure-guided engineering effort towards a WS/DGAT variant with preference towards wax esters of desired lengths.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Triacylglycerols (TAGs) and wax esters (WEs) are important neutral lipids which serve as energy reservoir in some plants and microorganisms. In recent years, these biologically produced neutral lipids have been regarded as potential alternative energy sources for biofuel production because of the increased interest on developing renewable and environmentally benign alternatives for fossil fuels. In bacteria, the final step in TAG and WE biosynthetic pathway is catalyzed by wax ester synthase/acyl coenzyme A (acyl-CoA):diacylglycerol acyltransferase (WS/DGAT). This bifunctional WS/DGAT enzyme is also a key enzyme in biotechnological production of liquid WE via engineering of plants and microorganisms. To date, knowledge about this class of biologically and biotechnologically important enzymes is mainly from biochemical characterization of WS/DGATs from Arabidopsis, jojoba and some bacteria that can synthesize both TAGs and WEs intracellularly, whereas little is known about WS/DGATs from eukaryotic microorganisms. RESULTS:Here, we report the identification and characterization of two bifunctional WS/DGAT enzymes (designated TrWSD4 and TrWSD5) from the marine protist Thraustochytrium roseum. Both TrWSD4 and TrWSD5 comprise a WS-like acyl-CoA acyltransferase domain and the recombinant proteins purified from Escherichia coli Rosetta (DE3) have substantial WS and lower DGAT activity. They exhibit WS activity towards various-chain-length saturated and polyunsaturated acyl-CoAs and fatty alcohols ranging from C10 to C18. TrWSD4 displays WS activity with the lowest Km value of 0.14 ?M and the highest kcat/Km value of 1.46 × 105 M-1 s-1 for lauroyl-CoA (C12:0) in the presence of 100 ?M hexadecanol, while TrWSD5 exhibits WS activity with the lowest Km value of 0.96 ?M and the highest kcat/Km value of 9.83 × 104 M-1 s-1 for decanoyl-CoA (C10:0) under the same reaction condition. Both WS/DGAT enzymes have the highest WS activity at 37 and 47 °C, and WS activity was greatly decreased when temperature exceeds 47 °C. TrWSD4 and TrWSD5 are insensitive to ionic strength and reduced WS activity was observed when salt concentration exceeded 800 mM. The potential of T. roseum WS/DGATs to establish novel process for biotechnological production of WEs was demonstrated by heterologous expression in recombinant yeast. Expression of either TrWSD4 or TrWSD5 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae quadruple mutant H1246, which is devoid of storage lipids, resulted in the accumulation of WEs, but not any detectable TAGs, indicating a predominant WS activity in yeast. CONCLUSIONS:This study demonstrates both in vitro WS and DGAT activity of two T. roseum WS/DGATs, which were characterized as unspecific acyltransferases accepting a broad range of acyl-CoAs and fatty alcohols as substrates for WS activity but displaying substrate preference for medium-chain acyl-CoAs. In vivo characterization shows that these two WS/DGATs predominantly function as wax synthase and presents the feasibility for production of WEs by heterologous hosts.
Project description:Wax esters, ester-linked fatty acids and long-chain alcohols, are important energy storage compounds in select bacteria. The synthesis of wax esters from fatty acids is proposed to require the action of a four-enzyme pathway. An essential step in the pathway is the reduction of a fatty aldehyde to the corresponding fatty alcohol, although the enzyme responsible for catalyzing this reaction has yet to be identified in bacteria. We report here the purification and characterization of an enzyme from the wax ester-accumulating bacterium Marinobacter aquaeolei VT8, which is a proposed fatty aldehyde reductase in this pathway. The enzyme, a 57-kDa monomer, was expressed in Escherichia coli as a fusion protein with the maltose binding protein on the N terminus and was purified to near homogeneity by using amylose affinity chromatography. The purified enzyme was found to reduce a number of long-chain aldehydes to the corresponding alcohols coupled to the oxidation of NADPH. The highest specific activity was observed for the reduction of decanal (85 nmol decanal reduced/min/mg). Short-chain and aromatic aldehydes were not substrates. The enzyme showed no detectable catalysis of the reverse reaction, the oxidation of decanol by NADP(+). The mechanism of the enzyme was probed with several site-specific chemical probes. The possible uses of this enzyme in the production of wax esters are discussed.
Project description:Marine hydrocarbonoclastic bacteria, like Alcanivorax borkumensis, play a globally important role in bioremediation of petroleum oil contamination in marine ecosystems. Accumulation of storage lipids, serving as endogenous carbon and energy sources during starvation periods, might be a potential adaptation mechanism for coping with nutrient limitation, which is a frequent stress factor challenging those bacteria in their natural marine habitats. Here we report on the analysis of storage lipid biosynthesis in A. borkumensis strain SK2. Triacylglycerols (TAGs) and wax esters (WEs), but not poly(hydroxyalkanoic acids), are the principal storage lipids present in this and other hydrocarbonoclastic bacterial species. Although so far assumed to be a characteristic restricted to gram-positive actinomycetes, substantial accumulation of TAGs corresponding to a fatty acid content of more than 23% of the cellular dry weight is the first characteristic of large-scale de novo TAG biosynthesis in a gram-negative bacterium. The acyltransferase AtfA1 (ABO_2742) exhibiting wax ester synthase/acyl-coenzyme A:diacylglycerol acyltransferase (WS/DGAT) activity plays a key role in both TAG and WE biosynthesis, whereas AtfA2 (ABO_1804) was dispensable for storage lipid formation. However, reduced but still substantial residual TAG levels in atfA1 and atfA2 knockout mutants compellingly indicate the existence of a yet unknown WS/DGAT-independent alternative TAG biosynthesis route. Storage lipids of A. borkumensis were enriched in saturated fatty acids and accumulated as insoluble intracytoplasmic inclusions exhibiting great structural variety. Storage lipid accumulation provided only a slight growth advantage during short-term starvation periods but was not required for maintaining viability and long-term persistence during extended starvation phases.
Project description:Photosynthetic oleaginous microalgae are promising feedstocks for biofuels. Acyl-CoA:diacylglycerol acyltransferases (DGATs) represent rich sources for engineering microalgal lipid production. The principal activity of DGATs has been defined as a single-function enzyme catalyzing the esterification of diacylglycerol with acyl-CoA.A dual-function PtWS/DGAT associated with diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum is discovered in the current study. Distinctive to documented microalgal DGAT types, PtWS/DGAT exhibits activities of both a wax ester synthase (WS) and a DGAT. WS/DGATs are broadly distributed in microalgae, with different topology and phylogeny from those of DGAT1s, DGAT2s, and DGAT3s. In vitro and in vivo assays revealed that PtWS/DGAT, functioning as either a WS or a DGAT, exhibited a preference on saturated FA substrate. Endogenous overexpression of PtWS/DGAT demonstrated that the DGAT activity was dominant, whereas the WS activity was condition dependent and relatively minor. Compared with the wild type (WT), overexpression of PtWS/DGAT in the diatom resulted in increased levels of total lipids (TL) and triacylglycerol (TAG) regardless of nitrogen availability. The stability and scalability of the introduced traits were further investigated at a 10-L photobioreactor, where the mutant growth resembled WT, with moderately increased productivity of TL and TAG. Furthermore, the production of wax esters increased considerably (from undetectable levels to 2.83%) under nitrogen-deplete conditions.PtWS/DGAT is a bifunctional enzyme and may serve as a promising target for the engineering of microalga-based oils and waxes for future industrial use.