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7-O-Methyl aromadendrin (7-OMA) is an aglycone moiety of one of the important flavonoid-glycosides found in several plants, such as Populus alba and Eucalyptus maculata, with various medicinal applications. To produce such valuable natural flavonoids in large quantity, an Escherichia coli cell factory has been developed to employ various plant biosynthetic pathways. Here, we report the generation of 7-OMA from its precursor, p-coumaric acid, in E. coli for the first time. Primarily, naringenin (NRN) (flavanone) synthesis was achieved by feeding p-coumaric acid and reconstructing the plant biosynthetic pathway by introducing the following structural genes: 4-coumarate-coenzyme A (CoA) ligase from Petroselinum crispum, chalcone synthase from Petunia hybrida, and chalcone isomerase from Medicago sativa. In order to increase the availability of malonyl-CoA, a critical precursor of 7-OMA, genes for the acyl-CoA carboxylase α and β subunits (nfa9890 and nfa9940), biotin ligase (nfa9950), and acetyl-CoA synthetase (nfa3550) from Nocardia farcinica were also introduced. Thus, produced NRN was hydroxylated at position 3 by flavanone-3-hydroxylase from Arabidopsis thaliana, which was further methylated at position 7 to produce 7-OMA in the presence of 7-O-methyltransferase from Streptomyces avermitilis. Dihydrokaempferol (DHK) (aromadendrin) and sakuranetin (SKN) were produced as intermediate products. Overexpression of the genes for flavanone biosynthesis and modification pathways, along with malonyl-CoA overproduction in E. coli, produced 2.7 mg/liter (8.9 μM) 7-OMA upon supplementation with 500 μM p-coumaric acid in 24 h, whereas the strain expressing only the flavanone modification enzymes yielded 30 mg/liter (99.2 μM) 7-OMA from 500 μM NRN in 24 h.


Sailesh Malla, Mattheos A G Koffas, Romas J Kazlauskas, Byung-Gee Kim. Production of 7-O-methyl aromadendrin, a medicinally valuable flavonoid, in Escherichia coli. Applied and environmental microbiology. 2012 Feb;78(3):684-94

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PMID: 22101053

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