The terpene mini-path, a new promising alternative for terpenoids bio-production
Review article, 2021

Terpenoids constitute the largest class of natural compounds and are extremely valuable from an economic point of view due to their extended physicochemical properties and biological activities. Due to recent environmental concerns, terpene extraction from natural sources is no longer considered as a viable option, and neither is the chemical synthesis to access such chemicals due to their sophisticated structural characteristics. An alternative to produce terpenoids is the use of biotechnological tools involving, for example, the construction of enzymatic cascades (cell-free synthesis) or a microbial bio-production thanks to metabolic engineering techniques. Despite outstanding successes, these approaches have been hampered by the length of the two natural biosynthetic routes (the mevalonate and the methyl erythritol phosphate pathways), leading to dimethylallyl diphosphate (DMAPP) and isopentenyl diphosphate (IPP), the two common universal precursors of all terpenoids. Recently, we, and others, developed what we called the terpene mini-path, a robust two enzyme access to DMAPP and IPP starting from their corresponding two alcohols, dimethylallyl alcohol and isopentenol. The aim here is to present the potential of this artificial bio-access to terpenoids, either in vitro or in vivo, through a review of the publications appearing since 2016 on this very new and fascinating field of investigation.

Synthetic biology

Terpenoids bio-access

Terpene mini-path


Julie Couillaud

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Systems and Synthetic Biology

Institut des Sciences Moléculaires de Marseille

Létitia Leydet

Institut des Sciences Moléculaires de Marseille

Katia Duquesne

Institut des Sciences Moléculaires de Marseille

Gilles Iacazio

Institut des Sciences Moléculaires de Marseille


2073-4425 (ISSN)

Vol. 12 12 1974

Subject Categories

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Biocatalysis and Enzyme Technology

Organic Chemistry





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