Heterologous expression of the acyl-acyl carrier protein thioesterase gene from the plant Umbellularia californica mediates polyhydroxyalkanoate biosynthesis in recombinant Escherichia coli

Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2001 Mar;55(2):205-9. doi: 10.1007/s002530000541.


The acyl-acyl carrier protein (ACP) thioesterase cDNA from the plant Umbellularia californica was functionally expressed in various recombinant Escherichia coli strains in order to establish a new metabolic route toward medium-chain-length polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA(MCL)) biosynthesis from non-related carbon sources. Coexpression of the PHA synthase genes from Ralstonia eutropha and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, or only the PHA synthase gene from P. aeruginosa, respectively, showed PHA(MCL) accumulation when the type II PHA synthase from P. aeruginosa was produced. Both wild-type E. coli and various fad mutants were investigated; and only when the beta-oxidation pathway was impaired PHA(MCL) accumulation from gluconate was observed, contributing to about 6% of cellular dry weight. Thus coexpression of type II PHA synthase gene with cDNA encoding the medium-chain acyl-ACP thioesterase from U. californica established a new PHA(MCL) biosynthesis pathway, connecting fatty acid de novo biosynthesis with fatty acid beta-oxidation, using a non-related carbon source.

MeSH terms

  • Acyltransferases / genetics
  • Acyltransferases / metabolism*
  • Cupriavidus necator / genetics
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism*
  • Fatty Acids / biosynthesis
  • Genes, Plant
  • Gluconates / metabolism
  • Lauraceae / enzymology
  • Lauraceae / genetics*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Plasmids
  • Polyesters / metabolism*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / genetics
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Thiolester Hydrolases / genetics*
  • Thiolester Hydrolases / metabolism*


  • Fatty Acids
  • Gluconates
  • Polyesters
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Acyltransferases
  • poly(3-hydroxyalkanoic acid) synthase
  • Thiolester Hydrolases
  • oleoyl-(acyl-carrier-protein) hydrolase