PUFA-synthase-specific PPTase enhanced the polyunsaturated fatty acid biosynthesis via the polyketide synthase pathway in Aurantiochytrium

Biotechnol Biofuels. 2020 Aug 31;13:152. doi: 10.1186/s13068-020-01793-x. eCollection 2020.


Background: Phosphopantetheinyl transferase (PPTase) can change the acyl-carrier protein (ACP) from an inactive apo-ACP to an active holo-ACP that plays a key role in fatty acids biosynthesis. Currently, the PPTase has been proved to be involved in the biosynthesis of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) via a polyketide synthase (PKS) pathway in Thraustochytrids, while its characteristics are not clarified.

Results: Here, the heterologous PPTase gene (pfaE) from bacteria was first co-expressed with the PKS system (orfA-orfC) from Thraustochytrid Aurantiochytrium. Then, a new endogenous PPTase (ppt_a) in Aurantiochytrium was identified by homologous alignment and its function was verified in E. coli. Moreover, the endogenous ppt_a was then overexpressed in Aurantiochytrium, and results showed that the production and proportion of PUFAs, especially docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), in the transformant SD116::PPT_A were increased by 35.5% and 17.6%, respectively. Finally, higher DHA and PUFA proportion (53.9% and 64.5% of TFA, respectively) were obtained in SD116::PPT_A using a cerulenin feeding strategy.

Conclusions: This study has illustrated a PUFAs-synthase-specific PPTase in PKS system and provided a new strategy to improve the PUFA production in Thraustochytrids.

Keywords: Aurantiochytrium; DHA; PPTase; Polyketide synthase; Thraustochytrids.