Metabolic Engineering of Saccharomyces cerevisiae for Enhanced Dihydroartemisinic Acid Production.
ABSTRACT: Direct bioproduction of DHAA (dihydroartemisinic acid) rather than AA (artemisinic acid), as suggested by previous work would decrease the cost of semi-biosynthesis artemisinin by eliminating the step of initial hydrogenation of AA. The major challenge in microbial production of DHAA is how to efficiently manipulate consecutive key enzymes ADH1 (artemisinic alcohol dehydrogenase), DBR2 [artemisinic aldehyde ?11(13) reductase] and ALDH1 (aldehyde dehydrogenase) to redirect metabolic flux and elevate the ratio of DHAA to AA (artemisinic acid). Herein, DHAA biosynthesis was achieved in Saccharomyces cerevisiae by introducing a series of heterologous enzymes: ADS (amorpha-4,11-diene synthase), CYP71AV1 (amorphadiene oxidase), ADH1, DBR2 and ALDH1, obtaining initial DHAA/AA ratio at 2.53. The flux toward DHAA was enhanced by pairing fusion proteins DBR2-ADH1 and DBR2-ALDH1, leading to 1.75-fold increase in DHAA/AA ratio (to 6.97). Moreover, to promote the substrate preference of ALDH1 to dihydroartemisinic aldehyde (the intermediate for DHAA synthesis) over artemisinic aldehyde (the intermediate for AA synthesis), two rational engineering strategies, including downsizing the active pocket and enhancing the stability of enzyme/cofactor complex, were proposed to engineer ALDH1. It was found that the mutant H194R, which showed better stability of the enzyme/NAD+ complex, obtained the highest DHAA to AA ratio at 3.73 among all the mutations. Then the mutant H194R was incorporated into above rebuilt fusion proteins, resulting in the highest ratio of DHAA to AA (10.05). Subsequently, the highest DHAA reported titer of 1.70 g/L (DHAA/AA ratio of 9.84) was achieved through 5 L bioreactor fermentation. The study highlights the synergy of metabolic engineering and protein engineering in metabolic flux redirection to get the most efficient product to the chemical process, and simplified downstream conversion process.
Project description:Chemical derivatives of artemisinin, a sesquiterpene lactone produced by Artemisia annua, are the active ingredient in the most effective treatment for malaria. Comprehensive phytochemical analysis of two contrasting chemotypes of A. annua resulted in the characterization of over 80 natural products by NMR, more than 20 of which are novel and described here for the first time. Analysis of high- and low-artemisinin producing (HAP and LAP) chemotypes of A. annua confirmed the latter to have a low level of DBR2 (artemisinic aldehyde ?11(13) reductase) gene expression. Here we show that the LAP chemotype accumulates high levels of artemisinic acid, arteannuin B, epi-deoxyarteannuin B and other amorpha-4,11-diene derived sesquiterpenes which are unsaturated at the 11,13-position. By contrast, the HAP chemotype is rich in sesquiterpenes saturated at the 11,13-position (dihydroartemisinic acid, artemisinin and dihydro-epi-deoxyarteannunin B), which is consistent with higher expression levels of DBR2, and also with the presence of a HAP-chemotype version of CYP71AV1 (amorpha-4,11-diene C-12 oxidase). Our results indicate that the conversion steps from artemisinic acid to arteannuin B, epi-deoxyarteannuin B and artemisitene in the LAP chemotype are non-enzymatic and parallel the non-enzymatic conversion of DHAA to artemisinin and dihyro-epi-deoxyarteannuin B in the HAP chemotype. Interestingly, artemisinic acid in the LAP chemotype preferentially converts to arteannuin B rather than the endoperoxide bridge containing artemisitene. In contrast, in the HAP chemotype, DHAA preferentially converts to artemisinin. Broader metabolomic and transcriptomic profiling revealed significantly different terpenoid profiles and related terpenoid gene expression in these two morphologically distinct chemotypes.
Project description:One-pot multienzyme biosynthesis is an attractive method for producing complex, chiral bioactive compounds. It is advantageous over step-by-step synthesis, as it simplifies the process, reduces costs and often leads to higher yield due to the synergistic effects of enzymatic reactions. In this study, dihydroartemisinic acid (DHAA) pathway enzymes were overexpressed in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and whole-cell biotransformation of amorpha-4,11-diene (AD) to DHAA was demonstrated. The first oxidation step by cytochrome P450 (CYP71AV1) is the main rate-limiting step, and a series of N-terminal truncation and transcriptional tuning improved the enzymatic activity. With the co-expression of artemisinic aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH1), which recycles NADPH, a significant 8-fold enhancement of DHAA production was observed. Subsequently, abiotic conditions were optimized to further enhance the productivity of the whole-cell biocatalysts. Collectively, approximately 230 mg/L DHAA was produced by the multi-step whole-cell reaction, a ~50% conversion from AD. This study illustrates the feasibility of producing bioactive compounds by in vitro one-pot multienzyme reactions.
Project description:Artemisinin, an effective anti-malarial drug is synthesized in the specialized 10-celled biseriate glandular trichomes of some Artemisia species. In order to have an insight into artemisinin biosynthesis in species other than A. annua, five species with different artemisinin contents were investigated for the expression of key genes that influence artemisinin content. The least relative expression of the examined terpene synthase genes accompanied with very low glandular trichome density (4 No. mm-2) and absence of artemisinin content in A. khorassanica (S2) underscored the vast metabolic capacity of glandular trichomes. A. deserti (S4) with artemisinin content of 5.13?mg?g-1 DW had a very high expression of Aa-ALDH1 and Aa-CYP71AV1 and low expression of Aa-DBR2. It is possible to develop plants with high artemisinin synthesis ability by downregulating Aa-ORA in S4, which may result in the reduction of Aa-ALDH1 and Aa-CYP71AV1 genes expression and effectively change the metabolic flux to favor more of artemisinin production than artemisinic acid. Based on the results, the Aa-ABCG6 transporter may be involved in trichome development. S4 had high transcript levels and larger glandular trichomes (3.46 fold) than A. annua found in Iran (S1), which may be due to the presence of more 2C-DNA (3.48 fold) in S4 than S1.
Project description:Artemisinin-based therapies are the only effective treatment for malaria, which reached to 219 million cases and killed 435,000 people in 2017. To meet the growing demand for artemisinin and make it accessible to the poorest, genetic engineering of Artemisia annua becomes one of the most promising approaches to improve artemisinin yield. In this work, AabZIP9 transcription factor has been identified and characterized. The expression profile of AabZIP9 revealed that it was clustered with the artemisinin specific biosynthetic pathway genes ADS, CYP71AV1, DBR2, and ALDH1. Furthermore, the transiently dual-LUC analysis showed that the activation of ADS promoter was enhanced by AabZIP9. Meanwhile, yeast one-hybrid assay showed that AabZIP9 was able to bind to the "ACGT" cis-element present in both ADS and CYP71AV1 promoters. AabZIP9 gene was driven by the constitutive CaMV35S promoter and the glandular trichome specific CYP71AV1 promoter and stably transformed into A. annua plants. The transcript level of AabZIP9 was increased in both of the 35S and CYP71AV1 driven transgenic plants compared with the wild type or GUS control plants. All the transgenic A. annua plants overexpressing AabZIP9 showed elevated transcript level of ADS, but the transcription levels of CYP71AV1, DBR2, and ALDH1 have no significant change in both types of transgenic plants. The significantly upregulated ADS promoted the accumulation of artemisinin, dihydroartemisinic acid, and artemisinic acid biosynthesis in the transgenic A. annua plants. These results suggest that AabZIP9 can positively regulate the biosynthesis of artemisinin.
Project description:Commercial Artemisia annua crops are the sole source of artemisinin (ART) worldwide. Data on seasonal accumulation and peak of sesquiterpenes, especially ART in commercial A. annua, is lacking while current breeding programs focus only on ART and plant biomass, but ignores dihydroartemisinic acid (DHAA) and artemisinic acid (AA). Despite past breeding successes, plants richer in ART are needed to decrease prices of artemisinin-combination therapy (ACT). Our results show that sesquiterpene concentrations vary greatly along the growing season and that sesquiterpene profiles differ widely among chemotypes. Field studies with elite Brazilian, Chinese, and Swiss germplasms established that ART peaked in vegetative plants from late August to early September, suggesting that ART is related to the photoperiod, not flowering. DHAA peaks with ART in Chinese and Swiss plants, but decreases, as ART increases, in Brazilian plants, while AA remained stable through the season in these genotypes. Chinese plants peaked at 0.9% ART, 1.6% DHAA; Brazilian plants at 0.9% ART, with less than 0.4% DHAA; Swiss plants at 0.8% ART and 1% DHAA. At single-date harvests, seeded Swiss plants produced 0.55-1.2% ART, with plants being higher in DHAA than ART; Brazilian plants produced 0.33-1.5% ART, with most having higher ART than DHAA. Elite germplasms produced from 0.02-0.43% AA, except Sandeman-UK (0.4-1.1% AA). Our data suggest that different chemotypes, high in ART and DHAA, have complementary pathways, while competing with AA. Crossing plants high in ART and DHAA may generate hybrids with higher ART than currently available in commercial germplasms. Selecting for high ART and DHAA (and low AA) can be a valuable approach for future selection and breeding to produce plants more efficient in transforming DHAA into ART in planta and during post-harvest. This novel approach could change the breeding focus of A. annua and other pharmaceutical species that produce more than one desired metabolite in the same pathway. Obtaining natural variants with high ART content will empower countries and farmers who select, improve, and cultivate A. annua as a commercial pharmaceutical crop. This selection approach could enable ART to be produced locally where it is most needed to fight malaria and other parasitic neglected diseases.
Project description:Artemisinin is an effective antimalarial sesquiterpene lactone synthesized in Artemisia annua. Various transcription factors have been previously reported that can influence the biosynthesis of artemisinin; however, the effect of YABBY family transcription factors on artemisinin biosynthesis was unknown. In the present study, we cloned and characterized AaYABBY5: a homolog of MsYABBY5 in Mentha spicata which is involved in modulating the monoterpenes, as a positive regulator of artemisinin biosynthesis in A. annua. AaYABBY5 was found localized to the nucleus, and its expression was found to be induced by exogenous methyl jasmonic acid (MeJA) treatment. In the dual-luciferase reporter assay, it was found that AaYABBY5 significantly increased the activities of promoters of amorpha-4,11-diene synthase (ADS), cytochrome P450 monooxygenase (CYP71AV1), double-bond reductase 2 (DBR2), and aldehyde dehydrogenase 1 (ALDH1) genes. Yeast one hybrid assay showed that AaYABBY5 directly bonds to the promoters of CYP71AV1 and DBR2 genes. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) of AaYABBY5 overexpression and AaYABBY5 antisense plants revealed a significant increase in the expression of ADS, CYP71AV1, DBR2, and ALDH1 in AaYABBY5 overexpression plants and a significant decrease in the expression of these genes in AaYABBY5 antisense A. annua, respectively. Furthermore, the results of high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) showed that the artemisinin and its precursor dihydroartemisinic acid were significantly increased in the AaYABBY5 overexpression plants while AaYABBY5 downregulation resulted in a significant decrease in the concentration of artemisinin. Taken together, these results explicitly represent that AaYABBY5 is a positive regulator of artemisinin biosynthesis in A. annua.
Project description:Jasmonates (JAs) are important signaling molecules in plants and play crucial roles in stress responses, secondary metabolites' regulation, plant growth and development. In this study, the promoter of AaAOC, which was the key gene of jasmonate biosynthetic pathway, had been cloned. GUS staining showed that AaAOC was expressed ubiquitiously in A. annua. AaAOC gene was overexpressed under control of 35S promoter. RT-Q-PCR showed that the expression levels of AaAOC were increased from 1.6- to 5.2-fold in AaAOC-overexpression transgenic A. annua. The results of GC-MS showed that the content of endogenous jasmonic acid (JA) was 2- to 4.7-fold of the control level in AaAOC-overexpression plants. HPLC showed that the contents of artemisinin, dihydroartemisinic acid and artemisinic acid were increased significantly in AaAOC-overexpression plants. RT-Q-PCR showed that the expression levels of FPS (farnesyl diphosphate synthase), CYP71AV1 (cytochrome P450 dependent hydroxylase) and DBR2 (double bond reductase 2) were increased significantly in AaAOC-overexpression plants. All data demonstrated that increased endogenous JA could significantly promote the biosynthesis of artemisinin in AaAOC-overexpression transgenic A. annua.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Recently, Artemisia annua L. (annual or sweet wormwood) has received increasing attention due to the fact that the plant produces the sesquiterpenoid endoperoxide artemisinin, which today is widely used for treatment of malaria. The plant produces relatively small amounts of artemisinin and a worldwide shortage of the drug has led to intense research in order to increase the yield of artemisinin. In order to improve our understanding of terpene metabolism in the plant and to evaluate the competition for precursors, which may influence the yield of artemisinin, we have used qPCR to estimate the expression of 14 genes of terpene metabolism in different tissues. RESULTS: The four genes of the artemisinin biosynthetic pathway (amorpha-4,11-diene synthase, amorphadiene-12-hydroxylase, artemisinic aldehyde ∆11(13) reductase and aldehyde dehydrogenase 1) showed remarkably higher expression (between ~40- to ~500-fold) in flower buds and young leaves compared to other tissues (old leaves, stems, roots, hairy root cultures). Further, dihydroartemisinic aldehyde reductase showed a very high expression only in hairy root cultures. Germacrene A and caryophyllene synthase were mostly expressed in young leaves and flower buds while epi-cedrol synthase was highly expressed in old leaves. 3-Hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl coenzyme A reductase exhibited lower expression in old leaves compared to other tissues. Farnesyldiphosphate synthase, squalene synthase, and 1-deoxy-D-xylulose-5-phosphate reductoisomerase showed only modest variation in expression in the different tissues, while expression of 1-deoxy-D-xylulose-5-phosphate synthase was 7-8-fold higher in flower buds and young leaves compared to old leaves. CONCLUSIONS: Four genes of artemisinin biosynthesis were highly expressed in flower buds and young leaves (tissues showing a high density of glandular trichomes). The expression of dihydroartemisinic aldehyde reductase has been suggested to have a negative effect on artemisinin production through reduction of dihydroartemisinic aldehyde to dihydroartemisinic alcohol. However, our results show that this enzyme is expressed only at low levels in tissues producing artemisinin and consequently its effect on artemisinin production may be limited. Finally, squalene synthase but not other sesquiterpene synthases appears to be a significant competitor for farnesyl diphosphate in artemisinin-producing tissues.
Project description:Artemisia annua produces the valuable medicinal component, artemisinin, which is a sesquiterpene lactone widely used in malaria treatment. AaORA, a homolog of CrORCA3, which is involved in activating terpenoid indole alkaloid biosynthesis in Catharanthus roseus, is a jasmonate (JA)-responsive and trichome-specific APETALA2/ETHYLENE-RESPONSE FACTOR that plays a pivotal role in artemisinin biosynthesis. However, the JA signaling mechanism underlying AaORA-mediated artemisinin biosynthesis remains enigmatic. Here, we report that AaORA forms a transcriptional activator complex with AaTCP14 (TEOSINTE BRANCHED 1/CYCLOIDEA/PROLIFERATING CELL FACTOR 14), which is also predominantly expressed in trichomes. AaORA and AaTCP14 synergistically bind to and activate the promoters of two genes, double bond reductase 2 (DBR2) and aldehyde dehydrogenase 1 (ALDH1), both of which encode enzymes vital for artemisinin biosynthesis. AaJAZ8, a repressor of the JA signaling pathway, interacts with both AaTCP14 and AaORA and represses the ability of the AaTCP14-AaORA complex to activate the DBR2 promoter. JA treatment induces AaJAZ8 degradation, allowing the AaTCP14-AaORA complex to subsequently activate the expression of DBR2, which is essential for artemisinin biosynthesis. These data suggest that JA activation of the AaTCP14-AaORA complex regulates artemisinin biosynthesis. Together, our findings reveal a novel artemisinin biosynthetic pathway regulatory network and provide new insight into how specialized metabolism is modulated by the JA signaling pathway in plants.
Project description:High-performance liquid chromatography, liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry methods were developed to analyze the process waste streams of Artemisia Annua extraction. Results from these methods suggested that the final waste from the extraction process could serve as a source of dihydroartemisinic acid (DHAA) that could be converted to additional artemisinin. Two additional impurities were isolated and identified in the waste material as well as in A. annua leaf samples. That these impurities also appear as side-products in chemical transformations of DHAA to artemisinin supports the conclusion that the in vivo transformation proceeds as nonspecific oxidations. These impurities do not appear in isolated artemisinin. A simple, high-yielding procedure for recovery of DHAA from the primary waste stream was developed.