Co-Compartmentation of Terpene Biosynthesis and Storage via Synthetic Droplet

Yining Zeng, Cheng Zhao, YongKyoung Kim, Man Li, Xin Wang, Cheng Hu, Connor Gorman, Susie Dai, Shi-You Ding, Joshua Yuan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus Citations


Traditional bioproduct engineering focuses on pathway optimization, yet is often complicated by product inhibition, downstream consumption, and the toxicity of certain products. Here, we present the co-compartmentation of biosynthesis and storage via a synthetic droplet as an effective new strategy to improve the bioproduct yield, with squalene as a model compound. A hydrophobic protein was designed and introduced into the tobacco chloroplast to generate a synthetic droplet for terpene storage. Simultaneously, squalene biosynthesis enzymes were introduced to chloroplasts together with the droplet-forming protein to co-compartmentalize the biosynthesis and storage of squalene. The strategy has enabled a record yield of squalene at 2.6 mg/g fresh weight without compromising plant growth. Confocal fluorescent microscopy imaging, stimulated Raman scattering microscopy, and droplet composition analysis confirmed the formation of synthetic storage droplet in chloroplast. The co-compartmentation of synthetic storage droplet with a targeted metabolic pathway engineering represents a new strategy for enhancing bioproduct yield.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)774-781
Number of pages8
JournalACS Synthetic Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 American Chemical Society.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-2700-71061


  • co-compartmentation
  • hydrophobic protein
  • oleosin
  • squalene
  • synthetic droplet


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