Limonene and its derivatives are widely used in industry and pharmaceuticals. Currently, limonene production is mainly dependent on extraction from natural plants or chemical synthesis, which may suffer from feedstock shortage, unstable supply chain and low production efficiency.
Development in metabolic engineering and synthetic biology offers a promising alternative for constructing microbial cell factories to realize the sustainable and efficient supply of limonene and its derivatives.
However, there are still challenges in engineering microbial cell factories for the biosynthesis of limonene and its derivatives, including discovery and characterization of key enzymes, accurate regulation of host cell metabolism and the serious cytotoxicity of limonene on chassis cells.
Recently, a research group led by Prof. ZHOU Yongjin from the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, in collaboration with Prof. YANG Xiaobing's group from Northwest A&F University, discussed the engineering microbes for biosynthesis of limonene and its derivations.
The result was published on Biotechnology Advances on September 1.
Microbial cell factories for limonene and its derivatives synthesis (Image by REN Yuyao)
The scientists reviewed engineering microbes for limonene biosynthesis and derivation with the emphasis on enzyme characterization and pathway optimization. In particular, they introduced the current trends in microbial limonene decoration for the biosynthesis of bio-active molecules such as α-terpineol and perillyl alcohol.
They summarized the key engineering strategies toward robust microbial cell factories, including strengthening and balancing metabolic pathways, enhancing the key rate-limiting step, improving cofactor supply and relieving the cytotoxicity of limonene.
This work was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China, National Natural Science Foundation of China, and Liaoning Revitalization Talent Program. (Text by LI Yunxia)