A biological route to conjugated alkenes: microbial production of hepta-1,3,5-triene

Hanan Messiha, Karl Payne, Nigel Scrutton, David Leys

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Conjugated alkenes such as dienes and polyenes have a range of applications as pharmaceutical agents and valuable building blocks in the polymer industry. Development of a renewable route to these compounds provides an alternative to fossil fuel derived production. The enzyme family of the UbiD decarboxylases offers substantial scope for alkene production, readily converting poly-unsaturated acids. However, biochemical pathways producing the required substrates are poorly characterized, and UbiD-application has hitherto been limited to biological styrene production. Herein, we present a proof-of-principle study for microbial production of polyenes using a bioinspired strategy employing a polyketide synthase (PKS) in combination with a UbiD-enzyme. Deconstructing a bacterial iterative type II PKS enabled repurposing the broad-spectrum antibiotic andrimid biosynthesis pathway to access the metabolic intermediate 2,4,6-octatrienoic acid, a valuable chemical for material and pharmaceutical industry. Combination with the fungal ferulic acid decarboxylase (Fdc1) led to a biocatalytic cascade-type reaction for the production of hepta-1,3,5-triene in vivo. Our approach provides a novel route to generate unsaturated hydrocarbons and related chemicals and provides a blue-print for future development and application.
Original languageEnglish
JournalACS Synthetic Biology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 10 Dec 2020


Dive into the research topics of 'A biological route to conjugated alkenes: microbial production of hepta-1,3,5-triene'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this