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Taxol (paclitaxel) is a very widely used anticancer drug, but its commercial sources mainly consist of stripped bark or suspension cultures of members of the plant genus Taxus. Taxol accumulates as part of a complex mixture of chemical analogs, termed taxoids, which complicates its production in pure form, highlighting the need for metabolic engineering approaches for high-level Taxol production in cell cultures or microbial hosts. Here, we report on the characterization of acyl-activating enzymes (AAEs) that catalyze the formation of CoA esters of different organic acids relevant for the N-substitution of the 3-phenylisoserine side chain of taxoids. On the basis of similarities to AAE genes of known function from other organisms, we identified candidate genes in publicly available transcriptome data sets obtained with Taxus × media. We cloned 17 AAE genes, expressed them heterologously in Escherichia coli, purified the corresponding recombinant enzymes, and performed in vitro assays with 27 organic acids as potential substrates. We identified TmAAE1 and TmAAE5 as the most efficient enzymes for the activation of butyric acid (Taxol D side chain), TmAAE13 as the best candidate for generating a CoA ester of tiglic acid (Taxol B side chain), TmAAE3 and TmAAE13 as suitable for the activation of 4-methylbutyric acid (N-debenzoyl-N-(2-methylbutyryl)taxol side chain), TmAAE15 as a highly efficient candidate for hexanoic acid activation (Taxol C side chain), and TmAAE4 as suitable candidate for esterification of benzoic acid with CoA (Taxol side chain). This study lays important groundwork for metabolic engineering efforts aimed at improving Taxol production in cell cultures. © 2020 Srividya et al.

Citation

Narayanan Srividya, Iris Lange, Michael Hartmann, Qunrui Li, Maryam Mirzaei, Bernd Markus Lange. Biochemical characterization of acyl activating enzymes for side chain moieties of Taxol and its analogs. The Journal of biological chemistry. 2020 Apr 10;295(15):4963-4973

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PMID: 32086380

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