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Reference: Wriessnegger T and Pichler H (2013) Yeast metabolic engineering - Targeting sterol metabolism and terpenoid formation. Prog Lipid Res 52(3):277-93

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Abstract

Terpenoids comprise various structures conferring versatile functions to eukaryotes, for example in the form of prenyl-anchors they attach proteins to membranes. The physiology of eukaryotic membranes is fine-tuned by another terpenoid class, namely sterols. Evidence is accumulating that numerous membrane proteins require specific sterol structural features for function. Moreover, sterols are intermediates in the synthesis of steroids serving as hormones in higher eukaryotes. Like steroids many compounds of the terpenoid family do not contribute to membrane architecture, but serve as signalling, protective or attractant/repellent molecules. Particularly plants have developed a plenitude of terpenoid biosynthetic routes branching off early in the sterol biosynthesis pathway and, thereby, forming one of the largest groups of naturally occurring organic compounds. Many of these aromatic and volatile molecules are interesting for industrial application ranging from foods to pharmaceuticals. Combining the fortunate situation that sterol biosynthesis is highly conserved in eukaryotes with the amenability of yeasts to genetic and metabolic engineering, basically all naturally occurring terpenoids might be produced involving yeasts. Such engineered yeasts are useful for the study of biological functions and molecular interactions of terpenoids as well as for the large-scale production of high-value compounds, which are unavailable in sufficient amounts from natural sources due to their low abundance.

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Journal Article
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Wriessnegger T, Pichler H
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