Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 196, Issue 12, pp 853–861 | Cite as

Carbon partitioning to the terpenoid biosynthetic pathway enables heterologous β-phellandrene production in Escherichia coli cultures

  • Cinzia Formighieri
  • Anastasios MelisEmail author
Original Paper


Escherichia coli was used as a microbial system for the heterologous synthesis of β-phellandrene, a monoterpene of plant origin with several potential commercial applications. Expression of Lavandula angustifolia β-phellandrene synthase (PHLS), alone or in combination with Picea abies geranyl-diphosphate synthase in E. coli, resulted in no β-phellandrene accumulation, in sharp contrast to observations with PHLS-transformed cyanobacteria. Lack of β-phellandrene biosynthesis in E. coli was attributed to the limited endogenous carbon partitioning through the native 2-C-methylerythritol-4-phosphate (MEP) pathway. Heterologous co-expression of the mevalonic acid pathway, enhancing cellular carbon partitioning and flux toward the universal isoprenoid precursors, isopentenyl-diphosphate and dimethylallyl-diphosphate, was required to confer β-phellandrene production. Differences in endogenous carbon flux toward the synthesis of isoprenoids between photosynthetic (Synechocystis) and non-photosynthetic bacteria (E. coli) are discussed in terms of differences in the regulation of carbon partitioning through the MEP biosynthetic pathway in the two systems.


β-Phellandrene Isoprenoid biosynthetic pathway Metabolic engineering Monoterpene biosynthesis 



Dry cell weight




Geranyl-diphosphate synthase




Isopropyl β-d-1-thiogalactopyranoside




Mevalonic acid


Optical density




β-Phellandrene synthase


Translation initiation region

Supplementary material

203_2014_1024_MOESM1_ESM.docx (17 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 17 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Plant and Microbial BiologyUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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