Investigation of cellular targeting of carotenoid pathway enzymes in Pichia pastoris

Pyung Cheon Lee, Young geol Yoon, Claudia Schmidt-Dannert

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23 Scopus citations


Cellular targeting of lycopene biosynthetic enzymes was investigated in Pichia pastoris X-33. Three lycopene pathway enzymes, CrtE, CrtB, and CrtI, were fused to fluorescent EGFPs with or without a peroxisomal targeting sequence (PTS1) and then expressed in P. pastoris. When P. pastoris was grown in YPD, the PTS1 fusion enzymes were found to be localized in peroxisomes, whereas the enzymes not fused with PTS1 were equally distributed throughout the entire cell. A similar targeting pattern was also observed in P. pastoris strains that were grown in peroxisome-proliferating medium, YPOT. Analysis of the fluorescent images of isolated peroxisomes showed that the PTS1 fused enzymes were dominantly present in peroxisomes whereas small amount of the enzymes not fused with PTS1 were non-specifically sent to peroxisomes. These results indicate that PTS1 specifically target lycopene pathway enzymes into peroxisomes and this targeting pathway was strong enough to overcome their inherent targeting program. In conclusion, we first showed that carotenogenic enzymes can be targeted into the specific cellular location of recombinant hosts and this targeting strategy can serve as the basis for the subsequent development of sophisticated pathway engineering in microorganisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-233
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biotechnology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Mar 25 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors gratefully acknowledge support from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA-BIOS N66001-02-1-8928). PC Lee was also supported by the Korea Research Foundation Grant funded by the Korean Government (KRF-2007-313-D00257) and by the Korea-Australia Collaborative Research Project on the Development of Biomass-Based Bioprocess Platform (10030795) from the Korean Ministry of Knowledge Economy.


  • Carotenoid biosynthetic pathway
  • Metabolic engineering
  • Peroxisome-targeting signal
  • Pichia pastoris


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