Optimisation oftrans-cinnamic acid and hydrocinnamyl alcohol production with recombinantSaccharomyces cerevisiaeand identification of cinnamyl methyl ketone as a by-product

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Trans-cinnamic acid (tCA) and hydrocinnamyl alcohol (HcinOH) are valuable aromatic compounds with applications in the flavour, fragrance and cosmetic industry. They can be produced with recombinant yeasts from sugars via phenylalanine after expression of a phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL) and an aryl carboxylic acid reductase. Here, we show that in Saccharomyces cerevisiae a PAL enzyme from the bacterium Photorhabdus luminescens was superior to a previously used plant PAL enzyme for the production of tCA. Moreover, after expression of a UDP-glucose:cinnamate glucosyltransferase (FaGT2) from Fragaria x ananassa, tCA could be converted to cinnamoyl-D-glucose which is expected to be less toxic to the yeast cells. Production of tCA and HcinOH from glucose could be increased by eliminating feedback-regulated steps of aromatic amino acid biosynthesis and diminishing the decarboxylation step of the competing Ehrlich pathway. Finally, an unknown by-product resulting from further metabolisation of a carboligation product of cinnamaldehyde (cinALD) with activated acetaldehyde, mediated by pyruvate decarboxylases, could be identified as cinnamyl methyl ketone providing a new route for the biosynthesis of precursors, such as (2S,3R) 5-phenylpent-4-ene-2,3-diol, necessary for the chemical synthesis of specific biologically active drugs such as daunomycin.

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