Engineering yeast mitochondrial metabolism for 3-hydroxypropionate production
Journal article, 2023

Background: With unique physiochemical environments in subcellular organelles, there has been growing interest in harnessing yeast organelles for bioproduct synthesis. Among these organelles, the yeast mitochondrion has been found to be an attractive compartment for production of terpenoids and branched-chain alcohols, which could be credited to the abundant supply of acetyl-CoA, ATP and cofactors. In this study we explored the mitochondrial potential for production of 3-hydroxypropionate (3-HP) and performed the cofactor engineering and flux control at the acetyl-CoA node to maximize 3-HP synthesis. Results: Metabolic modeling suggested that the mitochondrion serves as a more suitable compartment for 3-HP synthesis via the malonyl-CoA pathway than the cytosol, due to the opportunity to obtain a higher maximum yield and a lower oxygen consumption. With the malonyl-CoA reductase (MCR) targeted into the mitochondria, the 3-HP production increased to 0.27 g/L compared with 0.09 g/L with MCR expressed in the cytosol. With enhanced expression of dissected MCR enzymes, the titer reached to 4.42 g/L, comparable to the highest titer achieved in the cytosol so far. Then, the mitochondrial NADPH supply was optimized by overexpressing POS5 and IDP1, which resulted in an increase in the 3-HP titer to 5.11 g/L. Furthermore, with induced expression of an ACC1 mutant in the mitochondria, the final 3-HP production reached 6.16 g/L in shake flask fermentations. The constructed strain was then evaluated in fed-batch fermentations, and produced 71.09 g/L 3-HP with a productivity of 0.71 g/L/h and a yield on glucose of 0.23 g/g. Conclusions: In this study, the yeast mitochondrion is reported as an attractive compartment for 3-HP production. The final 3-HP titer of 71.09 g/L with a productivity of 0.71 g/L/h was achieved in fed-batch fermentations, representing the highest titer reported for Saccharomyces cerevisiae so far, that demonstrated the potential of recruiting the yeast mitochondria for further development of cell factories.

Acetyl-CoA carboxylase

Malonyl-CoA reductase


Redox factor engineering

Yeast mitochondrion


Yiming Zhang

Beijing University of Chemical Technology

Mo Su

Beijing University of Chemical Technology

Yu Chen

Chalmers, Life Sciences, Systems and Synthetic Biology

Zheng Wang

Beijing University of Chemical Technology

Jens B Nielsen

Chalmers, Life Sciences, Systems and Synthetic Biology

Beijing University of Chemical Technology

BioInnovation Institute

Zihe Liu

Beijing University of Chemical Technology

Biotechnology for Biofuels and Bioproducts

27313654 (eISSN)

Vol. 16 1 64

Subject Categories

Bioprocess Technology

Biocatalysis and Enzyme Technology

Other Industrial Biotechnology



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1/3/2024 9