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Title: A squalene synthase-like enzyme initiates production of tetraterpenoid hydrocarbons in Botryococcus braunii Race L

Here, the green microalga Botryococcus braunii is considered a promising biofuel feedstock producer due to its prodigious accumulation of hydrocarbon oils that can be converted into fuels. B. braunii Race L produces the C40 tetraterpenoid hydrocarbon lycopadiene via an uncharacterized biosynthetic pathway. Structural similarities suggest this pathway follows a biosynthetic mechanism analogous to that of C30 squalene. Confirming this hypothesis, the current study identifies C20 geranylgeranyl diphosphate (GGPP) as a precursor for lycopaoctaene biosynthesis, the first committed intermediate in the production of lycopadiene. Two squalene synthase (SS)-like complementary DNAs are identified in race L with one encoding a true SS and the other encoding an enzyme with lycopaoctaene synthase (LOS) activity. Interestingly, LOS uses alternative C15 and C20 prenyl diphosphate substrates to produce combinatorial hybrid hydrocarbons, but almost exclusively uses GGPP in vivo. In conclusion, this discovery highlights how SS enzyme diversification results in the production of specialized tetraterpenoid oils in race L of B. braunii.
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [1]
  1. Texas A&M Univ., College Station, TX (United States). Dept. of Biochemistry and Biophysics
  2. Texas A&M Univ., College Station, TX (United States). Dept. of Biochemistry and Biophysics; Texas A&M Univ., College Station, TX (United States). Biomolecular NMR Laboratory
  3. Univ. of Tokyo (Japan); Japan Science and Technology Agency-Core Research for Evolutional Science and Technology (CREST), Tokyo (Japan)
  4. Univ. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ (United States)
  5. Univ. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ (United States); Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Beijing (China)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Grant/Contract Number:
AR0000203; EE0003046l; NSF-EFRI-PSBR 1240478
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nature Communications
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 7; Journal ID: ISSN 2041-1723
Nature Publishing Group
Research Org:
Texas A&M AgriLife Research, College Station, TX (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E); USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
Contributing Orgs:
Texas A&M AgriLife Research
Country of Publication:
United States
59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES biological sciences; biochemistry; chemical biology; plant sciences