Metabolite profiling of Phycomyces blakesleeanus carotene mutants reveals global changes across intermediary metabolism

Eugenio Alcalde Rodriguez, Paul Fraser

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The filamentous fungus Phycomyces blakesleeanus provides a renewable biosource of industrial high-value compounds such as carotenes, other isoprenoids (ubiquinone and sterols), organic acids and fatty acids. Several Phycomyces mutants involved in the formation of β-carotene are available. For example, the carA mutants have a leaky mutation in the phytoene synthase and produce significantly lower amounts of carotenes, while the carB and carR mutants produce phytoene and lycopene, respectively, due to a null mutation in the genes encoding the phytoene dehydrogenase and lycopene cyclase, respectively. The carS mutants are mutated in the gene encoding the oxygenase responsible for the conversion of β-carotene into apocarotenoids and, as a result, β-carotene accumulates. In order to ascertain further the biochemical changes arising in these potential industrial strains, a metabolite profiling workflow was implemented for Phycomyces. GC-MS and ultra-performance liquid chromatography–photodiode array platforms enabled the identification of over 100 metabolites in 11 carA, carB, carR and carS mutant strains and their wild-type comparator. All mutant strains possessed decreased TCA cycle intermediates, galactose, alanine and ribitol, while dodecanol and valine showed a general increase. As predicted, other terpenoid levels were affected in the carB, carR and carS mutants but not in the carA mutants. The global changes across intermediary metabolism of the mutants suggest that complex metabolic networks exist between intermediary and secondary metabolism or that other mutations beyond the carotene pathway may exist in these mutants. These data show the utility of the methodology in metabolically phenotyping Phycomyces strains with potential industrial exploitation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1963-1971
Number of pages9
Early online date23 Nov 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Nov 2016

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