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2-Phenylethanol (2-PE) is an important flavor ingredient and is widely applied in the fields of food, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals. Despite that Saccharomyces cerevisiae has the ability to naturally synthesize 2-PE via the Ehrlich pathway, de novo synthesis of 2-PE in high titer still remains a huge challenge. In this study, a non-native styrene degradation pathway was introduced into S. cerevisiae, which represents the first time to demonstrate the functional expression of "styrene-derived" 2-PE synthesis in yeast. Using a host strain engineered with L-phenylalanine (L-Phe) overproduction, the heterologous 2-PE pathway coupled with endogenous Ehrlich pathway produced 233 mg/L 2-PE under shake flasks. Additionally, we further engineered the permease transporters to improve the intracellular L-Phe availability, and further improved the 2-PE titer to 680 mg/L. Taken together, our work represents one of the pioneering reports to explore "styrene-derived" pathway in S. cerevisiae. The synthetic yeast described here might be used as a platform for the future development of next-generation high-yielding 2-PE yeast strains.Key Points• A styrene-derived pathway was established in yeast for 2-phenylethanol productions; membrane-associated styrene oxide isomerase was functional in yeast.• Transporter engineering to improve the L-phenylalanine importation with enhanced 2-phenylethanol productions.


Qiwen Mo, Huiyu Chen, Cong Fan, Danli Zhang, Lingrui Liu, Bixia Fu, Jifeng Yuan. Utilization of a styrene-derived pathway for 2-phenylethanol production in budding yeast. Applied microbiology and biotechnology. 2021 Mar;105(6):2333-2340

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PMID: 33649922

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