Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Vol.118, No.7, 2734-2743, 2021
Prostaglandin production by the microalga with heterologous expression of cyclooxygenase
Prostaglandins (PGs) are the physiologically active compounds synthesized from C20 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) by cyclooxygenase (COX) and a series of PG synthases, and are utilized as pharmaceuticals. Currently, commercialized PGs are mainly produced by chemical synthesis under harsh conditions. By contrast, bioproduction of PGs can be an alternative, environmental-friendly, and inexpensive process with genetic engineering of model plants, although these conventional host organisms contain a limited quantity of PG precursors. In this study, we established an efficient PG production process using the genetically engineered microalga Fistulifera solaris which is rich in C20 PUFAs. A cox gene derived from the red alga Agarophyton vermiculophyllum was introduced into F. solaris. As a result, a transformant clone with high cox expression produced PGs (i.e., PGD(2), PGE(2), PGF(2 alpha), and 15-ketoPGF(2 alpha) derived from arachidonic acid, and PGD(3), PGE(3), and PGF(3 alpha) derived from eicosapentaenoic acid) as revealed by liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry. The total content of PGs was 1290.4 ng/g of dry cell weight, which was higher than that produced in the transgenic plant reported previously. The results obtained in this study indicate that the C20 PUFA-rich microalga functionally expressing COX is a promising host for PG bioproduction.