Production bisabolane, advanced biofuel

Production of bisabolane, an advanced biofuel

3:01 AM, 19th January 2012
Production of bisabolane, an advanced biofuel
From left, Andy DeGiovanni, Paul Adams, Pamela Peralta-Yahya and Ryan McAndrew were members of the JBEI team that determined the 3D structure of a protein that is critical to the microbial-based production of bisabolane biofuel.

CALIFORNIA, US: The recent discovery that bisabolane, a member of the terpene class of chemical compounds used in fragrances and flavorings, holds high promise as a biosynthetic alternative to diesel fuel has generated keen interest in the green energy community and the trucking industry. Now a second team of researchers with the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) has determined the three-dimensional crystal structure of a protein that is key to boosting the microbial-based production of bisabolane as an advanced biofuel.

The research team led by Paul Adams, Bioengineers, JBEI and Jay Keasling, Bioengineers, JBEI solved the protein crystal structure of an enzyme in the Grand fir (Abies grandis) that synthesizes bisabolene, the immediate terpene precursor to bisabolane. The performance of this enzyme, the Abies grandis α-bisabolene synthase (AgBIS), when engineered into microbes, has resulted in a bottleneck that hampers the conversion by the microbes of simple sugars into bisabolene.

“Our high resolution structure of AgBIS should make it possible to design changes in the enzyme that will enable microbes to make bisabolene faster. It should also enable us to engineer out inhibition effects that slow throughput, and perhaps also engineer the enzyme to produce other kinds of fuels similar to bisabolane,” said Adams.

“The inefficient terpene synthase enzyme is one of the bottlenecks in the metabolic pathway used by the engineered microbes. Knowing the AgBIS crystal structure will guide us in engineering it for improved catalytic efficiency and stability, which should bring our bisabolene yields closer to economic competitiveness,” said Peralta-Yahya, Lead Member, JBEI team. Peralta-Yahya and her colleagues determined that the AgBIS enzyme consists of three helical domains, the first three-domain structure ever found in a synthase of sesquiterpenes – terpene compounds that contain 15 carbon atoms.

“That we found the structure of AgBIS to be more similar to diterpene (20 carbon terpene compounds) synthases not only provides us with insight into the function of these less well characterized enzymes, it also provides us with clues to the evolutionary heritage as the archetypal three-domain terpenoid synthases became two-domain sesquiterpene synthases in plants. Furthering our knowledge of the structures and functions of terpenoid synthases may prove to have abundant practical applications aside from advanced biofuels because these enzymes produce a wide variety of specialized chemicals,” explained Peralta-Yahya.

Solving the three-dimensional crystal structure of AgBIS was made possible by the protein crystallography capabilities of Berkeley Lab’s advanced light source (ALS), a DOE Office of Science national user facility for synchrotron radiation, and the first of the world’s third generation light sources. For this work, the JBEI team used three of the five protein crystallography beamlines operated by the Berkeley Center for Structural Biology (BCSB) – beamlines 8.2.1, 8.2.2, and 5.0.3.

“We needed to use multiple beamlines because we collected data on several crystals, the protein by itself, and the protein with different inhibitors/cofactors. Also, the approach we used to solve the AgBIS structure required high flux tunable X-rays such as those provided at 8.2.1 and 8.2.2, which are superbend beamlines,” said Adams.

© Berkeley laboratory News

0 Comments

Login

Your Comments (Up to 2000 characters)
Please respect our community and the integrity of its participants. WOC reserves the right to moderate and approve your comment.

Related News


IFF to realign fragrance business unit for profitability

NEW YORK, US: International Flavors & Fragrances Inc (IFF) announced a strategic initiative designed to strengthen the company’s global go t ...

Read more
UOP to provide technologies to Samsung Total Petrochemicals

DES PLAINES, US: UOP LLC, a Honeywell company, announced that it has been selected by Samsung Total Petrochemicals Co Ltd to provide technologies for ...

Read more
Dow Corning starts European distribution centre in Belgium

MIDLAND, US: Dow Corning has completed construction of its 32,000 square mt energy efficient European distribution centre in Feluy, Belgium. The new f ...

Read more
Foster Wheeler bags CFB steam generator contract in China

ZUG, SWITZERLAND: Foster Wheeler AG announced that a subsidiary of its Global Power Group has been awarded a contract by Yuen Foong Yu Paper Mfg (YFY) ...

Read more
Albemarle to form electronic material business unit

BATON ROUGE, US: Albemarle Corporation announced the formation of its electronic materials business unit, a subgroup of Albemarle’s newly rename ...

Read more
MGC to build electronic materials capacity in Thailand

BANGKOK, THAILAND: Mitsubishi Gas Chemical (MGC) Company has established a subsidiary for the production of electronic materials in the Thailand. The ...

Read more
www.worldofchemicals.com uses cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By using this site, you agree to our Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use. X