In a future bio-based economy, renewable sources for lipid compounds at attractive cost are needed for applications where today petrochemical derivatives are dominating. Wax esters and fatty alcohols provide diverse industrial uses, such as in lubricant and surfactant production. In this study, chloroplast metabolism was engineered to divert intermediates from de novo fatty acid biosynthesis to wax ester synthesis. To accomplish this, chloroplast targeted fatty acyl reductases (FAR) and wax ester synthases (WS) were transiently expressed in Nicotiana benthamiana leaves. Wax esters of different qualities and quantities were produced providing insights to the properties and interaction of the individual enzymes used. In particular, a phytyl ester synthase was found to be a premium candidate for medium chain wax ester synthesis. Catalytic activities of FAR and WS were also expressed as a fusion protein and determined functionally equivalent to the expression of individual enzymes for wax ester synthesis in chloroplasts.
Keywords: Chloroplast; Fatty acyl reductase; Fatty alcohol; Nicotiana benthamiana; Wax ester; Wax ester synthase.
Copyright © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.