Increasing n‑butanol production with saccharomyces cerevisiae by optimizing acetyl‑CoA synthesis, NADH levels and trans‑2‑enoyl‑CoA reductase expression

  • Background: n-Butanol can serve as an excellent gasoline substitute. Naturally, it is produced by some Clostridia species which, however, exhibit only limited suitability for industrial n-butanol production. The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae would be an ideal host due to its high robustness in fermentation processes. Nevertheless, n-butanol yields and titers obtained so far with genetically engineered yeast strains are only low. Results: In our recent work, we showed that n-butanol production via a clostridial acetoacetyl-CoA-derived pathway in engineered yeast was limited by the availability of coenzyme A (CoA) and cytosolic acetyl-CoA. Increasing their levels resulted in a strain producing up to 130 mg/L n-butanol under anaerobic conditions. Here, we show that under aerobic conditions. this strain can even produce up to 235 mg/L n-butanol probably due to a more efficient NADH re-oxidation. Nevertheless, expression of a bacterial water-forming NADH oxidase (nox) significantly reduced n-butanol production although it showed a positive effect on growth and glucose consumption. Screening for an improved version of an acetyl-CoA forming NAD+-dependent acetylating acetaldehyde dehydrogenase, adhEA267T/E568K/R577S, and its integration into n-butanol-producing strain further improved n-butanol production. Moreover, deletion of the competing NADP+-dependent acetaldehyde dehydrogenase Ald6 had a superior effect on n-butanol formation. To increase the endogenous supply of CoA, amine oxidase Fms1 was overexpressed together with pantothenate kinase coaA from Escherichia coli, and could completely compensate the beneficial effect on n-butanol synthesis of addition of pantothenate to the medium. By overexpression of each of the enzymes of n-butanol pathway in the n-butanol-producing yeast strain, it turned out that trans-2-enoyl-CoA reductase (ter) was limiting n-butanol production. Additional overexpression of ter finally resulted in a yeast strain producing n-butanol up to a titer of 0.86 g/L and a yield of 0.071 g/g glucose. Conclusions: By further optimizing substrate supply and redox power in the form of coenzyme A, acetyl-CoA and NADH, n-butanol production with engineered yeast cells could be improved to levels never reached before with S. cerevisiae via an acetoacetyl-CoA-derived pathway in synthetic medium. Moreover, our results indicate that the NAD+/NADH redox balance and the trans-2-enoyl-CoA reductase reaction seem to be bottlenecks for n-butanol production with yeast.

Download full text files

Export metadata

Author:Virginia SchadewegGND, Eckhard BolesORCiD
Pubmed Id:
Parent Title (English):Biotechnology for biofuels
Publisher:BioMed Central
Place of publication:London
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2016/12/01
Date of first Publication:2016/11/25
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2016/12/01
Tag:Acetyl-CoA; Acetylating acetaldehyde dehydrogenase; Coenzyme A; Pantothenate; Saccharomyces; Trans-2-enoyl-CoA reductase; n-Butanol
Page Number:11
First Page:1
Last Page:11
© The Author(s) 2016. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Institutes:Biowissenschaften / Biowissenschaften
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 57 Biowissenschaften; Biologie / 570 Biowissenschaften; Biologie
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0