Current Genetics

, Volume 55, Issue 2, pp 175–184 | Cite as

Carotenoids and carotenogenic genes in Podospora anserina: engineering of the carotenoid composition extends the life span of the mycelium

  • Ingmar Strobel
  • Jürgen Breitenbach
  • Christian Q. Scheckhuber
  • Heinz D. Osiewacz
  • Gerhard SandmannEmail author
Research Article


Carotenoids have been identified in the fungus Podospora anserina and a parallel pathway to neurosporene and β-carotene was established. Three genes for the β-carotene branch have been cloned and their function elucidated. They correspond to the al-1, al-2 and al-3 genes from Neurospora crassa. They were individually and in combinations over-expressed in P. anserina in order to modify the carotenoid composition qualitatively and quantitatively. In the resulting transformants, carotenoid synthesis was up to eightfold increased and several intermediates of the pathway together with special cyclic carotenoids, β-zeacarotene and 7,8-dihydro-β-carotene, accumulated. All transformants with an over-expressed al-2 gene (encoding a phytoene synthase and a lycopene cyclase) displayed up to 31% prolonged life span.


Ageing protection al Genes Carotenoid biosynthesis Metabolic engineering Neurosporaxanthin 



This work was supported by the Förderfond der Goethe Universität Frankfurt and grant FP7-KBBE-2007-207948 by the European Commission to G. Sandmann and LSHM-CT-2004-512020 to H. D. Osiewacz.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ingmar Strobel
    • 2
  • Jürgen Breitenbach
    • 1
  • Christian Q. Scheckhuber
    • 2
  • Heinz D. Osiewacz
    • 2
  • Gerhard Sandmann
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Biosynthesis Group, Department of Biological Sciences, Institute of Molecular BiosciencesJ. W. Goethe UniversitätFrankfurtGermany
  2. 2.Molecular Developmental Biology, Department of Biological Sciences and Cluster of Excellence Macromolecular Complexes, Institute of Molecular BiosciencesJ. W. Goethe UniversityFrankfurtGermany

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