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Engineering the Autotroph Methanococcus maripaludis for Geraniol Production

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journal contribution
posted on 17.02.2016, 18:37 by Zhe Lyu, Rachit Jain, Peyton Smith, Travis Fetchko, Yajun Yan, William B. Whitman
The rapid autotrophic growth of the methanogenic archaeon Methanococcus maripaludis on H2 and CO2 makes it an attractive microbial chassis to inexpensively produce biochemicals. To explore this potential, a synthetic gene encoding geraniol synthase (GES) derived from Ocimum basilicum was cloned into a M. maripaludis expression vector under selection for puromycin resistance. Recombinant expression of GES in M. maripaludis during autotrophic growth on H2/CO2 or formate yielded geraniol at 2.8 and 4.0 mg g–1 of dry weight, respectively. The yield of geraniol decreased 2–3-fold when organic carbon sources were added to stimulate heterotrophic growth. In the absence of puromycin, geraniol production during autotrophic growth on formate increased to 4.6 mg g–1 of dry weight. A conceptual model centered on the autotrophic acetyl coenzyme A biosynthetic pathway identified strategies to divert more autotrophic carbon flux to geraniol production.