Applied and environmental microbiology

Metabolic engineering of Saccharomyces cerevisiae for production of novel cyanophycins with an extended range of constituent amino acids.

PMID 19346356


Cyanophycin (multi-l-arginyl-poly-l-aspartic acid; also known as cyanophycin grana peptide [CGP]) is a putative precursor for numerous biodegradable technically used chemicals. Therefore, the biosynthesis and production of the polymer in recombinant organisms is of special interest. The synthesis of cyanophycin derivatives consisting of a wider range of constituents would broaden the applications of this polymer. We applied recombinant Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains defective in arginine metabolism and expressing the cyanophycin synthetase of Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6308 in order to synthesize CGP with citrulline and ornithine as constituents. Strains defective in arginine degradation (Car1 and Car2) accumulated up to 4% (wt/wt) CGP, whereas strains defective in arginine synthesis (Arg1, Arg3, and Arg4) accumulated up to 15.3% (wt/wt) of CGP, which is more than twofold higher than the previously content reported in yeast and the highest content ever reported in eukaryotes. Characterization of the isolated polymers by different analytical methods indicated that CGP synthesized by strain Arg1 (with argininosuccinate synthetase deleted) consisted of up to 20 mol% of citrulline, whereas CGP from strain Arg3 (with ornithine carbamoyltransferase deleted) consisted of up to 8 mol% of ornithine, and CGP isolated from strain Arg4 (with argininosuccinate lyase deleted) consisted of up to 16 mol% lysine. Cultivation experiments indicated that the incorporation of citrulline or ornithine is enhanced by the addition of low amounts of arginine (2 mM) and also by the addition of ornithine or citrulline (10 to 40 mM), respectively, to the medium.