Engineering a platform for photosynthetic isoprene production in cyanobacteria, using Synechocystis as the model organism

Metab Eng. 2010 Jan;12(1):70-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ymben.2009.10.001. Epub 2009 Oct 13.


The concept of "photosynthetic biofuels" envisions application of a single organism, acting both as photo-catalyst and producer of ready-made fuel. This concept was applied upon genetic engineering of the cyanobacterium Synechocystis, conferring the ability to generate volatile isoprene hydrocarbons from CO(2) and H(2)O. Heterologous expression of the Pueraria montana (kudzu) isoprene synthase (IspS) gene in Synechocystis enabled photosynthetic isoprene generation in these cyanobacteria. Codon-use optimization of the kudzu IspS gene improved expression of the isoprene synthase in Synechocystis. Use of the photosynthesis psbA2 promoter, to drive the expression of the IspS gene, resulted in a light-intensity-dependent isoprene synthase expression. Results showed that oxygenic photosynthesis can be re-directed to generate useful small volatile hydrocarbons, while consuming CO(2), without a prior requirement for the harvesting, dewatering and processing of the respective biomass.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alkyl and Aryl Transferases / biosynthesis*
  • Alkyl and Aryl Transferases / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Butadienes
  • Hemiterpenes / biosynthesis*
  • Pentanes
  • Photosynthesis / physiology*
  • Photosystem II Protein Complex / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics
  • Pueraria / enzymology
  • Pueraria / genetics
  • Synechocystis / genetics
  • Synechocystis / metabolism*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Butadienes
  • Hemiterpenes
  • Pentanes
  • Photosystem II Protein Complex
  • Plant Proteins
  • photosystem II, psbA subunit
  • isoprene
  • Alkyl and Aryl Transferases
  • isoprene synthase