Heterologous expression of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae alcohol acetyltransferase genes in Clostridium acetobutylicum and Escherichia coli for the production of isoamyl acetate

J Ind Microbiol Biotechnol. 2003 Jul;30(7):427-32. doi: 10.1007/s10295-003-0070-0. Epub 2003 Jul 9.


Esters are formed by the condensation of acids with alcohols. The esters isoamyl acetate and butyl butyrate are used for food and beverage flavorings. Alcohol acetyltransferase is one enzyme responsible for the production of esters from acetyl-CoA and different alcohol substrates. The genes ATF1 and ATF2, encoding alcohol acetyltransferases from the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae have been sequenced and characterized. The production of acids and alcohols in mass quantities by the industrially important Clostridium acetobutylicum makes it a potential organism for exploitation of alcohol acetyltransferase activity. This report focuses on the heterologous expression of the alcohol acetyltransferases in Escherichia coli and C. acetobutylicum. ATF1 and ATF2 were cloned and expressed in E. coli and ATF2 was expressed in C. acetobutylicum. Isoamyl acetate production from the substrate isoamyl alcohol in E. coli and C. acetobutylicum cultures was determined by head-space gas analysis. Alcohol acetyltransferase I produced more than twice as much isoamyl acetate as alcohol acetyltransferase II when expressed from a high-copy expression vector. The effect of substrate levels on ester production was explored in the two bacterial hosts to demonstrate the efficacy of utilizing ATF1 and ATF2 in bacteria for ester production.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acetyltransferases / genetics*
  • Clostridium / enzymology
  • Clostridium / genetics*
  • Escherichia coli / enzymology
  • Escherichia coli / genetics*
  • Esters / metabolism
  • Food Microbiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal
  • Industrial Microbiology / methods
  • Pentanols / metabolism*
  • Proteins*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / enzymology
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / genetics


  • Esters
  • Pentanols
  • Proteins
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • Acetyltransferases
  • ATF2 protein, S cerevisiae
  • alcohol O-acetyltransferase
  • isoamyl acetate