Oxidation of fatty aldehydes to fatty acids by Escherichia coli cells expressing the Vibrio harveyi fatty aldehyde dehydrogenase (FALDH)

M. Buchhaupt, J. Guder, F. Sporleder, M. Paetzold, J. Schrader

Fatty acids represent an important renewable feedstock for the chemical industry. To enable biotechnological one carbon truncations of fatty acids, the enzymes α-dioxygenase and fatty aldehyde dehydrogenase (FALDH) have to be combined in a two-step process. We expressed an FALDH from V. harveyi in E. coli and characterized its substrate spectrum with a focus on the number and position of double bonds in the fatty aldehyde molecules. Synthesis of the expected fatty acid products was proven by analysis of whole cell biotransformation products. Coexpression of a H2O-forming NADPH oxidase (NOX) from Lactobacillus sanfranciscensisled to the implementation of a cofactor regeneration cycle in in vitro oxidation experiments. The presence of NOX in whole cell biotransformations improved reaction velocity but did not result in higher product yields. We could further demonstrate that at least part of the endogenous NAD(P)+ regeneration capacity in the resting cells results from the respiratory chain. The whole cell catalyst with the high broad range FALDH activity described here is an important biotechnological module for lipid biotransformation processes, especially the shortening of fatty acids.

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