Bacillus indicus and Bacillus firmus synthesize C30 carotenoids via farnesyl pyrophosphate, forming apophytoene as the first committed step in the pathway. The products of the pathways were methyl 4'-[6-O-acyl-glycosyl)oxy]-4,4'-diapolycopen-4-oic acid and 4,4'-diapolycopen-4,4'-dioic acid with putative glycosyl esters. The genomes of both bacteria were sequenced, and the genes for their early terpenoid and specific carotenoid pathways annotated. All genes for a functional 1-deoxy-d-xylulose 5-phosphate synthase pathway were identified in both species, whereas genes of the mevalonate pathway were absent. The genes for specific carotenoid synthesis and conversion were found on gene clusters which were organized differently in the two species. The genes involved in the formation of the carotenoid cores were assigned by functional complementation in Escherichia coli. This bacterium was co-transformed with a plasmid mediating the formation of the putative substrate and a second plasmid with the gene of interest. Carotenoid products in the transformants were determined by HPLC. Using this approach, we identified the genes for a 4,4'-diapophytoene synthase (crtM), 4,4'-diapophytoene desaturase (crtNa), 4,4'-diapolycopene ketolase (crtNb) and 4,4'-diapolycopene aldehyde oxidase (crtNc). The three crtN genes were closely related and belonged to the crtI gene family with a similar reaction mechanism of their enzyme products. Additional genes encoding glycosyltransferases and acyltransferases for the modification of the carotenoid skeleton of the diapolycopenoic acids were identified by comparison with the corresponding genes from other bacteria.
© 2015 The Authors.