Combinatorial metabolic engineering of Saccharomyces cerevisiae for terminal alkene production

Metab Eng. 2015 Sep;31:53-61. doi: 10.1016/j.ymben.2015.06.009. Epub 2015 Jul 8.


Biological production of terminal alkenes has garnered a significant interest due to their industrial applications such as lubricants, detergents and fuels. Here, we engineered the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae to produce terminal alkenes via a one-step fatty acid decarboxylation pathway and improved the alkene production using combinatorial engineering strategies. In brief, we first characterized eight fatty acid decarboxylases to enable and enhance alkene production. We then increased the production titer 7-fold by improving the availability of the precursor fatty acids. We additionally increased the titer about 5-fold through genetic cofactor engineering and gene expression tuning in rich medium. Lastly, we further improved the titer 1.8-fold to 3.7 mg/L by optimizing the culturing conditions in bioreactors. This study represents the first report of terminal alkene biosynthesis in S. cerevisiae, and the abovementioned combinatorial engineering approaches collectively increased the titer 67.4-fold. We envision that these approaches could provide insights into devising engineering strategies to improve the production of fatty acid-derived biochemicals in S. cerevisiae.

Keywords: Cofactor; Fatty acid; Gene expression; Metabolic engineering; Saccharomyces cerevisiae; Terminal alkenes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alkenes / metabolism*
  • Bioreactors
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / biosynthesis
  • Heme / pharmacology
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / pharmacology
  • Metabolic Engineering*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism


  • Alkenes
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Heme
  • Hydrogen Peroxide