Genetic engineering of the red yeast Xanthophyllomyces dendrorhous for high-yield synthesis of carotenoids such as astaxanthin, zeaxanthin and phytoene
Economic chemical synthesis of carotenoid as colorants, food and feed additives is restricted to a few compounds, whereas exploitation of natural sources may be restricted by low concentrations. To increase carotenoid production in fungi, genetic pathway engineering is a method of choice. Additionally, pathways can be extended to novel carotenoid products.
The red basidiomycetous yeast Xanthophyllomyces dendrorhous (with Phaffia rhodozyma as its anamorphic state) was successfully developed as a carotenoid production system. Plasmids for gene integration into the genome have been developed. Knock-out of genes and knock-in was successful. The genetic modification strategies involved generation and selection of suitable mutants, pathway enhancement and pathway extension. This combinatorial approaches led to high-yield prototypes for astaxanthin (1), zeaxanthin (2) and phytoene (3). Furthermore, novel carotenoids such as multi-hydroxy β-carotene derivatives could be generated in X. dendrorhous (4).
Acknowledgements: This work was supported as the ERA-IB project PROCAR through the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) (FKZ 031A569).