A fatty acyl coenzyme a reductase promotes wax ester accumulation in Rhodococcus jostii RHA1


Many rhodococci are oleaginous and, as such, have considerable potential for the sustainable production of lipid-based commodity chemicals. Herein, we demonstrated that Rhodococcus jostii RHA1, a soil bacterium that catabolizes a wide range of organic compounds, produced wax esters (WEs) up to 0.0002% of its cellular dry wt. during exponential growth on glucose. These WEs were fully satd. and contained primarily 31 to 34 carbon atoms. Moreover, they were present at higher levels during exponential growth than under lipid-accumulating conditions. Bioinformatics analyses revealed that RHA1 contains a gene encoding a putative fatty acyl CoA (acyl-CoA) reductase (FcrA). The purified enzyme catalyzed the NADPH-dependent transformation of stearoyl-CoA to stearyl alcohol with a specific activity of 45 ± 3 nmol/mg · min and dodecanal to dodecanol with a specific activity of 5,300 ± 300 nmol/mg · min. Deletion of fcrA did not affect WE accumulation when grown in either carbon- or nitrogen-limited medium. However, the ΔfcrA mutant accumulated less than 20% of the amount of WEs as the wild-type strain under conditions of nitric oxide stress. A strain of RHA1 overproducing FcrA accumulated WEs to ∼13% cellular dry weight under lipid-accumulating conditions, and their acyl moieties had longer average chain lengths than those in wild-type cells (C17 vs. C16). The results provide insight into the biosynthesis of WEs in rhodococci and facilitate the development of this genus for the production of high-value neutral lipids. [on SciFinder(R)]

Appl Environ Microbiol