Heterologous expression of astaxanthin biosynthesis genes in Mucor circinelloides.
Papp T., Velayos A., Bartók T., Eslava AP., Vágvölgyi C., Iturriaga EA.
Most Mucor species accumulate beta-carotene as the main carotenoid. The crtW and crtZ astaxanthin biosynthesis genes from Agrobacterium aurantiacum were placed under the control of Mucor circinelloides expression signals. Expression vectors containing the bacterial genes were constructed, and PEG-mediated transformations were performed on a selected M. circinelloides strain. Transformants that exhibited altered carotene production were isolated and analyzed. Southern analysis showed that all plasmids behave as autoreplicative elements. Northern analysis detected the actual heterologous transcription products, whereas thin layer chromatography and high-performance liquid chromatography studies revealed the presence of new carotenoid compounds and intermediates among the transformants.