(19)
(11)EP 2 465 868 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
17.02.2016 Bulletin 2016/07

(21)Application number: 10195551.6

(22)Date of filing:  17.12.2010
(51)Int. Cl.: 
C07K 14/195  (2006.01)
C12N 9/20  (2006.01)
C12N 9/02  (2006.01)
C12P 7/64  (2006.01)

(54)

Improvement of lipid production

Verbesserung der Lipidherstellung

Amélioration de production de lipide


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(43)Date of publication of application:
20.06.2012 Bulletin 2012/25

(73)Proprietor: Neste Oil Oyj
02150 Espoo (FI)

(72)Inventors:
  • Myllyntausta, Suvi
    37130 Nokia (FI)
  • Kivinen, Virpi
    33720 Tampere (FI)
  • Larjo, Antti
    33700 Tampere (FI)
  • Aho, Tommi
    33410 Tampere (FI)
  • Koskinen, Perttu
    00820 Helsinki (FI)
  • Karp, Matti
    20660 Littoinen (FI)
  • Santala, Ville
    37130 Nokia (FI)

(74)Representative: Zacco Denmark A/S 
Arne Jacobsens Allé 15
2300 Copenhagen S
2300 Copenhagen S (DK)


(56)References cited: : 
  
  • REISER STEVEN ET AL: "Isolation of mutants of Acinetobacter calcoaceticus deficient in wax ester synthesis and complementation of one mutation with a gene encoding a fatty acyl coenzyme A reductase", JOURNAL OF BACTERIOLOGY, vol. 179, no. 9, 1997, pages 2969-2975, XP002638603, ISSN: 0021-9193
  • ISHIGE TAKERU ET AL: "Wax ester production from n-alkanes by Acinetobacter sp. strain M-1: Ultrastructure of cellular inclusions and role of acyl coenzyme a reductase", APPLIED AND ENVIRONMENTAL MICROBIOLOGY, vol. 68, no. 3, March 2002 (2002-03), pages 1192-1195, XP002638604, ISSN: 0099-2240
  • UTHOFF S ET AL: "THIO WAX ESTER BIOSYNTHESIS UTILIZING THE UNSPECIFIC BIFUNCTIONAL WAX ESTER SYNTHASE/ACYL COENZYME A:DIACYLGLYCEROL ACYLTRANSFERASE OF ACINETOBACTER SP STRAIN ADP1", APPLIED AND ENVIRONMENTAL MICROBIOLOGY, vol. 71, no. 2, 1 February 2005 (2005-02-01), pages 790-796, XP009050831, ISSN: 0099-2240, DOI: DOI:10.1128/AEM.71.2.790-796.2005
  • KALSCHEUER RAINER ET AL: "In vitro and in vivo biosynthesis of wax diesters by an unspecific bifunctional wax ester synthase/acyl-CoA:diacylglycerol acyltransferase from Acinetobacter calcoaceticus ADP1", EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF LIPID SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, vol. 105, no. 10, 1 October 2003 (2003-10-01), pages 578-584, XP002336518, ISSN: 1438-7697, DOI: DOI:10.1002/EJLT.200300840
  • GEIGERT J ET AL: "FURTHER ASPECTS OF WAX ESTER BIOSYNTHESIS BY ACINETOBACTER-SP HO-1-N", JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN OIL CHEMISTS' SOCIETY, vol. 61, no. 11, 1984, pages 1747-1750, XP002638605, ISSN: 0003-021X
  • ISHIGE TAKERU ET AL: "Long-chain aldehyde dehydrogenase that participates in n-alkane utilization and wax ester synthesis in Acinetobacter sp. strain M-1", APPLIED AND ENVIRONMENTAL MICROBIOLOGY, vol. 66, no. 8, August 2000 (2000-08), pages 3481-3486, XP002638606, ISSN: 0099-2240
  • DE BERARDINIS VERONIQUE ET AL: "A complete collection of single-gene deletion mutants of Acinetobacter baylyi ADP1", MOLECULAR SYSTEMS BIOLOGY, vol. 4, no. 174, March 2008 (2008-03), pages 1-15, XP002638607,
  • KALSCHEUER R ET AL: "Microdiesel: Escherichia coli engineered for fuel production", MICROBIOLOGY, vol. 152, 1 January 2006 (2006-01-01), pages 2529-2536, XP007903430, ISSN: 1350-0872, DOI: DOI:10.1099/MIC.0.29028-0
  • NA D ET AL: "Construction and optimization of synthetic pathways in metabolic engineering", CURRENT OPINION IN MICROBIOLOGY, vol. 13, no. 3, 1 June 2010 (2010-06-01), pages 363-370, XP027071687, ISSN: 1369-5274, DOI: DOI:10.1016/J.MIB.2010.02.004 [retrieved on 2010-03-10]
  • CONNOR M R ET AL: "Microbial production of advanced transportation fuels in non-natural hosts", CURRENT OPINION IN BIOTECHNOLOGY, vol. 20, no. 3, 1 June 2009 (2009-06-01), pages 307-315, XP026283533, ISSN: 0958-1669, DOI: DOI:10.1016/J.COPBIO.2009.04.002 [retrieved on 2009-05-25]
  • YU K O ET AL: "Metabolic engineering for Triacylglycerol production from engineered Saccharomyces cerevisiae using glycerol", JOURNAL OF BIOTECHNOLOGY, vol. 150, 1 November 2010 (2010-11-01), page 344, XP027489856, ISSN: 0168-1656, DOI: DOI:10.1016/J.JBIOTEC.2010.09.373 [retrieved on 2010-11-01]
  • KALSCHEUER R ET AL: "Neutral Lipid Biosynthesis in Engineered Escherichia coli: Jojoba Oil-Like Wax Esters and Fatty Acid Butyl Esters", APPLIED AND ENVIRONMENTAL MICROBIOLOGY, vol. 72, no. 2, 1 February 2006 (2006-02-01), pages 1373-1379, XP007903431, ISSN: 0099-2240, DOI: DOI:10.1128/AEM.72.2.1373-1379.2006
  • STÖVEKEN TIM ET AL: "Bacterial acyltransferases as an alternative for lipase-catalyzed acylation for the production of oleochemicals and fuels.", ANGEWANDTE CHEMIE, vol. 47, no. 20, 2008, pages 3688-3694, XP002638608, ISSN: 1521-3773
  • DATABASE EMBL [Online] 20 June 1995 (1995-06-20), "A.calcoaceticus genes lipB, lipA and trmD, partial", XP000002657507, retrieved from EBI accession no. EM_PRO:X80800 Database accession no. X80800
  • RUBEN G. KOK ET AL: "Characterization of the extracellular lipase, LipA, of Acinetobacter calcoaceticus BD413 and sequence analysis of the cloned structural gene", MOLECULAR MICROBIOLOGY, vol. 15, no. 5, 1 March 1995 (1995-03-01), pages 803-818, XP55005007, ISSN: 0950-382X, DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.1995.tb02351.x
  • SULLIVAN E R ET AL: "Cloning and sequence analysis of the lipase and lipase chaperone-encoding genes from Acinetobacter calcoaceticus RAG-1, and redefinition of a Proteobacterial lipase family and an analogous lipase chaperone family", GENE, vol. 230, no. 2, 16 April 1999 (1999-04-16), pages 277-285, XP004165558, ISSN: 0378-1119, DOI: 10.1016/S0378-1119(99)00026-8
  • DUROT MAXIME ET AL: "Iterative reconstruction of a global metabolic model of Acinetobacter baylyi ADP1 using high-throughput growth phenotype and gene essentiality data", BMC SYSTEMS BIOLOGY, vol. 2, no. 85, 7 October 2008 (2008-10-07), page 1-23, XP021045486, ISSN: 1752-0509, DOI: 10.1186/1752-0509-2-85
  • DE BERARDINIS V ET AL: "Acinetobacter baylyi ADP1 as a model for metabolic system biology", CURRENT OPINION IN MICROBIOLOGY, vol. 12, no. 5, 1 October 2009 (2009-10-01), pages 568-576, XP026683289, ISSN: 1369-5274, DOI: DOI:10.1016/J.MIB.2009.07.005 [retrieved on 2009-08-24]
  • SUVI SANTALA ET AL: "Improved Triacylglycerol Production in Acinetobacter baylyi ADP1 by Metabolic Engineering", MICROBIAL CELL FACTORIES, vol. 10, no. 1, 1 January 2011 (2011-01-01), page 36-45, XP55005207, ISSN: 1475-2859, DOI: 10.1186/1475-2859-10-36
  • WAELTERMANN MARC ET AL: "Mechanism of lipid-body formation in prokaryotes: how bacteria fatten up", MOLECULAR MICROBIOLOGY, vol. 55, no. 3, February 2005 (2005-02), pages 750-763, XP002638609, ISSN: 0950-382X
  • ATHENSTAEDT K ET AL: "The life cycle of neutral lipids: synthesis, storage and degradation", CMLS CELLULAR AND MOLECULAR LIFE SCIENCES, vol. 63, no. 12, 2 May 2006 (2006-05-02), pages 1355-1369, XP019419178, ISSN: 1420-9071, DOI: 10.1007/S00018-006-6016-8
  
Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


Description

FIELD OF THE INVENTION



[0001] The present invention relates to a genetically modified Acinetobacter host and to a process for producing lipids by using the host.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION



[0002] The use of renewable biological material for the production of biofuels is generally motivated by decreasing climate change impacts, by securing the supply of fuels and by economic factors. Lipids are used as a raw material for the production of transportation biofuels, such as biodiesel or renewable diesel, or as their components, for their high energy content and availability. Current raw materials for biodiesel and renewable diesel include vegetable oils, animal fats or recycled greases. Since algae and some other microorganisms are known to naturally produce a wide range of lipids, their use as the source of lipids for biodiesel has been suggested. These microorganism based oils are often called as single cell oils. Lipids are essential for the cell as membrane components, enzyme cofactors, and carbon and energy storages. Some of these lipids, especially triacylglycerols (TAGs), are suitable for biodiesel and/or renewable diesel production.

[0003] Many challenges faced with agriculture based raw material, such as vegetable oils. for biodiesel and/or renewable diesel can be reduced with microbial biofuel production. Autotrophic algae are suggested to have significantly higher annual lipid yields per hectare than best oil crops. Alternative option to photosynthetic (autotrophic) production of lipids by algae or cyanobacteria is to utilize heterotrophic microorganisms which produce lipids from organic molecules (such as sugars) without need for light. Importantly, heterotrophic microorganisms can utilize various organic wastes and residues as raw materials for lipid production. Lipid production process using heterotrophic microorganisms comprises cultivating microorganisms in aerated bioreactors, allowing cells to accumulate lipids, harvesting lipid-rich cells and recovering oil from cells.

[0004] Single-cell oils have traditionally been used as special products e.g. in health foods, not as commodity chemicals. In these kinds of single cell oil production processes product volumes are relatively small and the product is expensive. Therefore, the cost structure of these processes allows the utilization of expensive feed raw materials and unit operations. Similar kind of production process has also been described for the production of lipids for biodiesel production (Ratledge and Cohen 2008). However, as the product is an inexpensive commodity chemical, the process costs should not be on the level of the process costs of special products. When lipids are used for example as starting material for biodiesel or renewable diesel, it is important that the lipid production process is efficient in terms of lipid yield from substrate and lipid production rate. Since the typical lipid yield by heterotrophic microorganisms is less than 20% weight percent of the fed sugar , the price of raw material has an essential role in cost structure. Since the economy of the production of single cell oils for biofuels is of key importance, new cost-effective processes for lipid production for biofuel production are still of growing interest. Further, the development of more efficient lipid producing organisms is of high interest.

[0005] Some bacteria can produce storage lipids, which can be utilized for example as starting material for biodiesel or renewable diesel production. Storage lipids are free fatty acids, acylglycerols, and wax esters and intermediate products thereof. The synthesis of storage lipids is a regulated process in bacteria. The production of storage lipids can be made more efficient by making some genes in the genome of the bacteria inactive and/or by overexpressing some genes in the genome of the bacteria. Such genes have been described for example in the patent publications WO2009/009391 and WO2008/119082. WO2009/009391 discloses a method for making a fatty esters using impure or unpurified alcohol in the production. The recombinant cell used in the method lacks a nucleic acid sequence encoding acyl-CoA dehydrogenase enzyme or the expression of said enzyme is attenuated. The host may comprise also exogenous genes encoding thioesterase, wax synthase, alcohol acetyltransferase, fatty alcohol forming acyl-CoA-reductase, an ester synthase enzyme, or acyl-CoA synthase enzyme. WO2008/119082 discloses recombinant cells from various microorganism hosts expressing or over-expressing gene or genes encoding fatty acid derivative enzymes and a gene encoding an acyl-CoA dehydrogenase enzyme, which gene is modified such that expression of the gene is attenuated.

[0006] Various patent publications describe the expression of some genes of the lipid synthesis pathway. WO2008/113041 discloses cracking methods for producing low molecular weight hydrocarbons from biocrude or hydrocarbon feedstock, which may be produced from a recombinant microorganism. The recombinant microorganism may be engineered to express or overexpress peptides, for example acyl-CoA synthetase, thioesterase, acetyl-CoA carboxylase or acyl-carrier protein. WO2007/136762 discloses genetically engineered microorganisms that are capable of synthesizing products derived from the fatty acid biosynthetic pathway (fatty acid derivatives).

[0007] Furthermore, DE102004052115 discloses a microorganism comprising a nucleic acid molecule encoding procaryotic acyltransferase, a nucleic acid molecule encoding pyruvatdecarboxylase and a nucleic acid molecule encoding alcoholdehydrogenase.

[0008] US 2003145350 discloses a method for increasing the content of short or middle chain length fatty acids in microorganisms and for production of fatty acids and oils having an increased content of short or middle chain length fatty acids. The method comprises the expression of the acyltransferase KAS III in a microorganism.

[0009] Uthhoff et al. (Environmental Microbiology; 71, 2, 790-796, 2005) discloses a collection of single gene deletion mutant of Acinetobacter baylai ADP1. Further, de Berardinis et al.( Molecular Systems Biology, 4, 174, 1-15, 2008) discloses a collection of single-gene deletion mutants for dispensable genes of the soil bacterium Acinetobacter baylyi ADP1. Kalscheuer et al. (European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology; 105, 10, 578-584, 2003) discloses a knock-out mutant A. calcoaceticus ADP1acr1 | Km generated by disruption of acr1 coding for acyl-CoA reductase which caused the inability to synthesize fatty alcohols and, thus in consequence, wax esters.

[0010] Although some publications disclose improved microorganism strains for lipid production there is still a need for more efficient processes for lipid production in order to obtain affordable raw material for biofuel and other applications.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION



[0011] One object of the present invention is to provide a microorganism host capable of improved lipid production

[0012] Another object of the invention is to provide an efficient process for producing lipids.

[0013] In particular, one object of the invention is to provide a process for producing lipids for biofuel, for components or for starting material for biofuel production.

[0014] To achieve these objects the invention is characterized by the features that are enlisted in the independent claims. Other claims represent the preferred embodiments of the invention.

[0015] An Acinetobacter host genetically modified to produce efficiently lipids is disclosed herein. More specifically, a genetically modified to be deficient of one or more of genes is disclosed herein. Genes which are advantageously made deficient in the host encode for example some key enzymes of the biochemical pathways competing with the lipid biosynthesis pathway.

[0016] The invention is based on the finding that the production of storage lipids can be significantly improved by making the host deficient of one or more genes encoding fatty acyl-CoA reductase, gene ACIAD 3383 or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host, and/or one or more genes encoding lipase, gene ACIAD 3309 or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host, pyruvate dehydrogenase, gene ACIAD 3381 or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host, or gene ACIAD 2177 or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host. Acinetobacter hosts modified according to this invention produce significantly higher amount storage lipids at cellular level than the wild type strain. More specifically, it is of advantage to make an Acinetobacter host deficient of one or more genes of group A, or one or more genes of group B, or one or more genes of both groups. Hence, an Acinetobacter host may be made deficient of one or more of
  1. A) a gene encoding fatty acyl-CoA reductase (EC1.2.1.n2), gene ACIAD 3383 (SEQ ID NO:1) or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host, wherein said host is capable of increased production of triacylglycerols (TAGs) and/or of total lipids compared to the parent host;
    and/or
  2. B) a gene encoding lipase (EC:3.1.1.3), gene ACIAD 3309 (SEQ ID NO: 2) or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host, a gene encoding pyruvate dehydrogenase (EC:1.2.2.2), gene ACIAD 3381 (SEQ ID NO:3) or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host , or gene ACIAD 2177 (SEQ ID NO:4) or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host, wherein said host is capable of increased production of wax esters (WEs) and/or total lipids compared to the parent host.


[0017] One aspect of the present inventions is directed to a genetically modified Acinetobacter host for lipid production, which comprises that the Acinetobacter host has been genetically modified to be deficient of gene ACIAD 2177 having SEQ ID NO:4 or showing at least 70 % identity to said sequence,
wherein said host is capable of increased production of wax esters and/or total lipids compared to the parent host, and wherein the host has been further made deficient of one or more of
  1. A) a gene encoding fatty acyl-CoA reductase having EC1.2.1.n2, a gene ACIAD 3383 having the sequence set forth in SEQ ID NO:1 or showing at least 70 % identity to said sequence, and/or
  2. B) a gene encoding diacylglycerol kinase having EC:2:7.1.107, a gene ACIAD 2837 having the sequence set forth in SEQ ID NO:5 or a functional equivalent thereof showing at least 70 % identity to said sequence; a gene encoding succinate dehydrogenase having EC:1.3.5.1, a gene ACIAD 2880 having SEQ ID NO:6 or showing at least 70 % identity to said sequence; a gene encoding glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase having EC 1.1.5.3, a gene ACIAD 2844 having SEQ ID NO:7 or showing at least 70 % identity to said sequence; a gene encoding cytochrome o ubiquinol oxidase subunit II having EC:1.10.3.-, a gene ACIAD 2425 having SEQ ID NO:8 or showing at least 70 % identity to said sequence; a gene encoding cytochrome o ubiquinol oxidase subunit I having EC:1.10.3.-, a gene ACIAD 2426 having SEQ ID NO:9 or showing at least 70 % identity to said sequence; a gene encoding cytochrome d terminal oxidase polypeptide subunit II having EC1.10.3.-, a gene ACIAD 2291 having SEQ ID NO:10 or showing at least 70 % identity to said sequence; a gene encoding pyruvate dehydrogenase having EC:1.2.2.2, a gene ACIAD 3381 having SEQ ID NO:3 or showing at least 70 % identity to said sequence; a gene encoding carboxylesterase having EC:3.1.1.1, a gene ACIAD 3648 having SEQ ID NO:11 or showing at least 70 % identity to said sequence; a gene encoding esterase, gene ACIAD 1134 having SEQ ID NO:12 or showing at least 70 % identity to said sequence; a gene encoding lipase having EC:3.1.1.3, a gene ACIAD 3309 having SEQ ID NO:2 or showing at least 70 % identity to said sequence, a gene ACIAD 1121 having SEQ ID NO:13 or showing at least 70 % identity to said sequence; or a gene encoding acyl-CoA synthetase having EC:6.2.1.3, gene ACIAD 0235 having SEQ ID NO:14 or showing at least 70 % identity to said sequence.


[0018] In another embodiment of the invention the host may be made deficient of one or more of
  1. A) a gene encoding fatty acyl-CoA reductase (EC1.2.1.n2), gene ACIAD 3383 (SEQ ID NO:1) or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host; and/or
  2. B) a gene encoding diacylglycerol kinase (EC:2.7.1.107), gene ACIAD 2837 (SEQ ID NO:5) or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host, succinate dehydrogenase (EC:1.3.5.1), gene ACIAD 2880 (SEQ ID NO:6) or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host, glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (EC 1.1.5.3), gene ACIAD 2844 (SEQ ID NO:7) or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host,, cytochrome o ubiquinol oxidase subunit II (EC:1.10.3.-), gene ACIAD 2425 (SEQ ID NO:8) or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host, cytochrome o ubiquinol oxidase subunit I (EC:1.10.3.-), gene ACIAD 2426 (SEQ ID NO:9), or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host, cytochrome d terminal oxidase polypeptide subunit II (EC1.10.3.-), gene ACIAD 2291 (SEQ ID NO:10) or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host , pyruvate dehydrogenase (EC:1.2.2.2), gene ACIAD 3381 (SEQ ID NO:3) or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host, carboxylesterase (EC:3.1.1.1), gene ACIAD 3648 (SEQ ID NO:11) or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host , esterase, gene ACIAD 1134 (SEQ ID NO:12) or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host; , various lipases (EC:3.1.1.3), gene ACIAD 1121 (SEQ. ID NO:13) or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host, gene ACIAD 3309 (SEQ ID NO:2) or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host, acyl-CoA synthetase (EC:6.2.1.3), gene ACIAD 0235 (SEQ ID NO:14) or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host, or gene ACIAD 2177 (SEQ ID NO:4) or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host,
wherein said host is capable of increased production of TAGs, wax esters and/or total lipids compared to the parent host.

[0019] In one further embodiment of the invention the host may be made deficient of one or more of
  1. A) a gene encoding fatty acyl-CoA reductase (EC1.2.1.n2), gene ACIAD 3383 (SEQ ID NO:1) or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host; and/or
  2. B) a gene encoding cytochrome o ubiquinol oxidase subunit II (EC:1.10.3.-), gene ACIAD 2425 (SEQ ID NO:8) or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host, or succinate dehydrogenase (EC:1.3.5.1), gene ACIAD 2880 (SEQ ID NO:6), or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host,
wherein said host is capable of increased production of TAGs, wax esters and/or of total lipids compared to the parent strain.

[0020] In one further embodiment of the invention the host may be made deficient of one or more of lipases (EC:3.1.1.3), gene ACIAD 3309 (SEQ ID NO:2) or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host, pyruvate dehydrogenase (EC:1.2.2.2), gene ACIAD 3381 (SEQ ID NO:3), or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host and/or gene ACIAD2177 (SEQ ID NO:4) or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host , wherein said host is capable of increased production of wax esters (WEs) and/or total lipids.

[0021] In one still further embodiment of the invention the host may be made deficient of one or more lipases (EC:3.1.1.3), gene ACIAD 3309 (SEQ ID NO:2) or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host, pyruvate dehydrogenase (EC:1.2.2.2), gene ACIAD 3381 (SEQ ID NO:3) or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host , and/or gene ACIAD 2177 (SEQ ID NO:4) or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host together with one or more of
a gene encoding diacylglycerol kinase (EC:2.7.1.107), gene ACIAD 2837 (SEQ ID NO:5) or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host; a gene encoding fatty acyl-CoA reductase (EC1.2.1.n2), gene ACIAD 3383 (SEQ ID NO:1), or a functional equivalent thereof-in an Acinetobacter host; a gene encoding succinate dehydrogenase (EC:1.3.5.1), gene ACIAD 2880 (SEQ ID NO:6) or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host; a gene encoding glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (EC 1.1.5.3), gene ACIAD 2844 (SEQ ID NO:7) or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host; a gene encoding cytochrome o ubiquinol oxidase subunit II (EC:1.10.3.-), gene ACIAD 2425 (SEQ ID NO:8) or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host ; a gene encoding cytochrome o ubiquinol oxidase subunit I (EC:1.10.3.-), gene ACIAD 2426 (SEQ ID NO:9), or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host ; a gene encoding cytochrome d terminal oxidase polypeptide subunit II (EC1.10.3.-), gene ACIAD 2291 (SEQ ID NO:10, or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host; a gene encoding pyruvate dehydrogenase (EC1.2.2.2), gene ACIAD 3381 (SEQ ID NO:3) or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host, a gene encoding carboxylesterase (EC:3.1.1.1), gene ACIAD 3648 (SEQ ID NO:11), or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host, a gene encoding esterase, gene ACIAD 1134 (SEQ ID NO:12), or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host, various lipases (EC:3.1.1.3), gene ACIAD 1121 (SEQ ID NO:13) or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host , or a gene encoding acyl-CoA synthetase (EC:6.2.1.3), gene ACIAD 0235 (SEQ ID NO:14) or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host, wherein said host is capable of increased production of wax esters (Wes) and/or of total lipids.

[0022] In one still further embodiment of the invention the host may be genetically modified to express one or more genes encoding the enzymes of lipid biosynthesis pathway.

[0023] In one still further embodiment of the invention the host may be genetically modified to express a gene encoding diacylglyserol synthase enzyme or to overexpress a gene encoding WS and/or DGAT.

[0024] In another aspect the invention provides a process for producing lipids using the Acinetobacter host of the present invention. The process comprises cultivating the modified microorganisms under suitable cultivation conditions; allowing microorganism to accumulate lipids; and recovering the lipids.

[0025] Yet, in another aspect the invention provides a process for producing biofuel using the Acinetobacter host of the present invention. The process comprises cultivating the modified microorganisms under suitable cultivation conditions; allowing microorganisms to accumulate lipids; recovering the lipids; and producing biofuel using the recovered lipids as a component or starting material for biofuel, such as biodiesel and/or renewable diesel.

[0026] Disclosed herein are lipid compositions produced by the embodiments of the invention.

[0027] Disclosed herein is the use of the modified hosts for producing lipids and use of the lipids as biofuel, as a component of biofuel, or as a starting material for biofuel production.

[0028] In some variations of the invention the host may be made deficient of at least 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 genes.

[0029] Considerable advantages are obtained by means of the present invention. By means of the invention new microorganisms belonging to the genus Acinetobacter are obtained, said microorganisms being capable of improved lipid production.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES



[0030] 

Figure 1 shows the gravimetric analysis of total lipids of the mutant strains.

Figure 2 presents the result of thin layer chromatography analyses; lipid production per cultivation time

Figure 3 presents the lipid production per cell

Figure 4 presents the lipid production per cultivation volume

Figure 5 presents the production of specific lipid compound (TAG)

Figure 6 shows a comparative TLC for the B2 and ADP1 wild types, single gene ko-mutants and Qm with four gene deletions.

Figure 7 shows flanking regions from the target gene to be knocked-out are cloned to the gene cassette. The synthetic gene cassette is used for gene knock-outs

Figure 8 shows an example of a gene cassette for knock-out of multiple genes

Figure 9 shows a gene cassette for knock-out of three genes and over-expression of the synthetic gene raSVa.


DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION



[0031] The present invention provides new genetically modified Acinetobacter hosts as defined by the claims in which a specific gene or genes are made deficient, typically inactive, in order to make the lipid production more efficient. In addition, lipid production may be further improved by introducing genetic constructs comprising genes of the lipid biosynthesis pathway.

[0032] "A genetically modified microorganism" refers here to a genetically modified Acinetobacter host whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. For example, one or more genes may be made deficient, typically inactive, in the host microorganism or one or more endogenous or exogenous genes may be expressed or overexpressed in the host. "A gene" refers here typically to a nucleotide sequence encoding a specific product, here usually an enzyme.

[0033] "Making deficient a gene in a host" means a genetic modification of the host by any suitable method resulting in reduced or lacking expression of a specific gene or reduced or lacking activity of a specific gene product. The method may comprise deletion or truncation or other modification of a specific gene, in particular a gene responsible of pathways competing with lipid biosynthesis. By " inactivation" is meant a genetic modification, typically deletion, resulting in complete loss of activity of a gene product. The effect of the genetic modification of a specific gene on lipid production can be studied by determining the amount of total lipids, storage lipids, structural lipids and/or specific lipid compounds (e.g. triacylgcerols, wax esters.

[0034] The term "lipid" refers to a fatty substance, whose molecule generally contains, as a part, an aliphatic hydrocarbon chain, which dissolves in nonpolar organic solvents but is poorly soluble in water. Lipids are an essential group of large molecules in living cells. Lipids are, for example, fats, oils, waxes, wax esters, sterols, terpenoids, isoprenoids, carotenoids, polyhydroxyalkanoates, nucleic acids, fatty acids, fatty alcohols, fatty aldehydes, fatty acid esters, phospholipids, glycolipids, sphingolipids and acylglycerols, such as triacylglycerols, diacylglycerols, or monoacylglycerols.

[0035] Preferred lipids as disclosed herein are fats, oils, waxes, acylglycerols and fatty acids and their derivatives, in particular triacylglycerols and wax esters.

[0036] Term "total lipids" refers to the sum of all compouds classified as lipids. Total lipids can be determined e.g. per weight of in cell biomass (per wet or dry weight) or per weight in cultivation volume. An increase in total lipids or improved total lipid production means that at least one of the compounds classified as lipids is increased increasing the sum of all lipid compounds.

[0037] The term "acyglycerol "refers to an ester of glycerol and fatty acids. Acylglycerols occur naturally as fats and fatty oils. Examples of acylglycerols include triacylglycerols (TAGs, triglycerides) diacylglycerols (diglycerides) and monoacylglycerols (monoglycerides). Triacylglycerols (TAG) are non-polar and hydrophobic glycerol triesters with three fatty acids. The properties of TAG are dependent on their fatty acid composition.

[0038] The term "wax ester" (WE) refers to an ester of fatty acids with long-chain monohydric alcohols which dissolves in nonpolar organic solvents but is poorly soluble in water.

[0039] The term "storage lipids" can be defined as lipids which microorganisms store intracellularly mainly for the purpose of storing energy, and fatty acids required for lipid biosynthesis in cells. Typically storage lipids are non-polar lipids such as triacylglycerols, wax esters and/or polyhydroxyalkanoates. Storage lipids are typically located in intracellular inclusions in microbial cells. In some cases, these non-polar lipids are excreted out of cells to growth medium. Storage lipids differ from "structural lipids" or membrane lipids which are included vital cell structures, such as cell membranes. Structural lipids are typically polar lipids such as phospholipids, glycolipids and/or sphingolipids. Structural lipids also include sterols.

[0040] By "increased " or "improved" lipid production is here meant increased or improved production of total lipids, or increased or improved production of storage lipids, or increase in particular lipid compounds such as TAGs and/or wax esters by the modified micro-organisms. The increased lipid production can be measured as changes in the amounts of total lipids, storage lipids, structural lipids and/or specific lipid compounds (e.g. TAG, WE) compared to the wild-type or to the parent host. The increase or improvement of at least one of these factors is at least 5 %, preferably at least 10 %, preferably at least 15 %, more preferably at least 20 %, still more preferably at least 25 %, more and more preferably at least 30 %, still more preferably at least 40 %, still more preferably at least 50 %, still more preferably at least 60 %, still more preferably at least 70 % in weight compared to the lipid production in the wild-type or parent host determined in terms of lipid production per time, lipid production per biomass, lipid production per cultivation volume or lipid production per consumed substrate (carbon source). Increased or improved lipid production can be achieved by genetic modification that increases one or more of the properties: lipid production per time, lipid production per biomass, lipid production per cultivation volume, lipid production per consumed substrate (carbon source) and/or lipid stability over time, or by genetic modification that increases or improves production of the specific lipid compounds (TAG, WE) . In some embodiments of the invention the production of total lipids is increased or improved; in some preferred embodiments the production of TAGs and/or WEs is increased or improved.

[0041] By "parent host" or "parent strain" is meant typically a host or a strain without the specific genetic modification resulting in increased or improved lipid production. The parent host may be the wild-type host or for example a production host, having improved properties, such as stability.

[0042] By an Acinetobacter host is here meant a bacterial host belonging to the genus Acinetobacter classified as compiled by DSMZ-Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH, Braunschweig, Germany, October 2010. More specifically the host may belong to species Acinetobacter baumannii, A. baylyi, A. beijerinckii, A. bereziniae, A. bouvetii, A. calcoaceticus, A. gerneri, A. grimontii (synonym A. junii), A. guillouiae, A. gyllenbergii A. haemolyticus, A. johnsonii, A. junii, A. Iwoffii, A. parvus, A. radioresistens, A. schindleri, A. soli, A. tandoii, A. tjernbergiae, A. towneri, A. ursingii, or A. venetianus. The preferred species is A. baylyi.

[0043] The invention has been exemplified by using A. baylyi ADP 1 and A. baylyi B2 strains. The strains are wild type strains, which are available to the public from recognized depository culture collections; the strain B2 is available from Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH, Braunschweig, Germany, under accession number DSM14961, and the ADP1 strain from AmericanType Culture Collection, under accession number ATCC 33305. Acinetobacter strains, in general, have a wide substrate (carbon source) utilization range. Several Acinetobacter strains can utilize a wide range of sugars (carbohydrates), such as hexose (C6) or pentose (C5) sugars, polar and non-polar hydrocarbons, such as aliphatic alcohols, long-chain fatty acids, glycols and polyols, aromatic and halogenated compounds, amino acids, amines and various nitrogenous compounds, alkanes, and organic acids as a sole carbon and energy source. Wide substrate utilization range is beneficial, since it enables the utilization of a variety of raw materials as carbon sources in cultivations for lipid production. Carbohydrates, in particular sugars, for the cultivation and lipid production by Acinetobacter can be derived from agricultural crops (e.g. sugar crops, sugar beet, sugar cane, grains, wheat, barley, maize, cassava, sweet sorghum, jerusalem artichoke), lignocellulosic materials (e.g. agricultural residues, wood residues, energy crops, pulp and paper industry residues), industrial organic wastes, municipal organic wastes or algae biomass or residues. Materials containing complex polymers, such as lignocellulosic materials, and polymeric sugars such as cellulose, xylan or starch, can be depolymerized (hydrolysis) before use as substrate for Acinetobacter, if needed. Advantageously, e.g. hosts belonging to Acinetobacter baylyi species (exemplified by using strain ADP1), can utilize both hexose and pentose sugars, which is benefical for the use of lignocellulosic materials, their fractions or hydrolysates as raw materials for lipid production.

[0044] Species of Acinetobacter are strict aerobes and their catabolism is shifted towards utilizing substrates that can be directly processed in citric acid cycle, for which all the genes are present. Also glyoxylate cycle via anaplerotic reactions is functional due to the presence of the key enzymes, isocitrate lyase and malate synthase.

[0045] Acinetobacter species and strains can produce a number of extra- and intracellular biopolymers. Acinetobacter species, for example A. baylyi can accumulate wax esters (Fixter et al. 1986), triacylglycerols (Kalscheuer and Steinbochel 2003) and polyhydroxyalkalonic acids (Krehenbrink et al. 2002).

[0046] Genetically modified Acinetobacter hosts are suitable in particular for biofuel applications; the main constituents of the fatty acids, C16 and C18 fatty acids (16 and 18 carbon fatty acids), are desirable raw materials for biodiesel or renewable diesel. In various embodiments of the present invention the fatty acid profile has been found to be very homogenic regardless of the medium composition, growth phase or genetically modified strains used, which makes Acinetobacter hosts suitably for variable bioprocess conditions. In some embodiments more than about 70 % of the components are C16:0, C16:1, C18:0 and C18:1 fatty acids. Minor amounts of C12:0, C13:1 and C14:0 fatty acids are also present.

[0047] The lipids produced by Acinetobacter are relatively saturated meaning that the amount of double bonds in fatty acid moieties is low. This is beneficial for the production of renewable diesel, since it reduces the quantity of hydrogen in hydrogen treatment step (hydrogen deoxygenation, hydroprocessing).

[0048] In summary, Acinetobacter hosts can utilize a wide range of substrates and produce commercially interesting biopolymers. The strains are tolerant to many toxic compounds and are able to degrade aromatic compounds and complex lignin derivates containing phenol groups. Acinetobacter hosts are therefore ideal hosts for lipid production in large scale for biofuel and other applications.

[0049] The Acinetobacter hosts can be cultivated in a cultivation medium in a bioreactor, or fermentor. During the cultivation the microorganisms produce lipids, in particular storage lipids, which can be recovered after the cultivation, during the cultivation or at regular intervals. The cultiation can thus be batch, continuous or fed-batch cultivation, or any other type of cultivation.

[0050] "Suitable cultivation conditions" mean here conditions under which the Acinetobacter host is able to grow and produce lipids. The cultivation is typically carried out in a fermentor under suitable aeration and agitation. The cultivation medium is provided with suitable carbon sources, nutrients, such as amino acids, salts, typically mineral salts, trace elements and water. The strain can be cultivated in rich or minimal salt media.

[0051] In one embodiment the Acinetobacter strains can be cultivated using algae. biomass or residues, of species such as, but not limited to, Chlorella, Phaeodactylum, Dunaliella, Nannochloropsis or Nannochloris as a carbon and/or energy source. Algae biomass can be used with or without oil-extraction or recovery of carbohydrates before use.

[0052] In another embodiment the Acinetobacter strains can be cultivated zion sugars derived from various different cellulosic or lignocellulosic materials, e.g., but not limited to, agricultural residues like wheat, barley, rye or rice straw, corn stalk or sugar canebagasse, wood materials or residues, pulp and paper industy residues or side streams, energy crops like switchgrass, reed canary grass, Miscantlius or poplar, or paper waste. The Acinetobacter strains can grow on glucose abundant in cellulosic fraction in lignocellulosic meterials and on xylose, which is abundant component in hemicellulose fractions of several lignocellulosic materials.

[0053] The cultivation temperature is 18 to 38 °C, generally 20 to 38 °C, usually 28 to 32 ° C, typically about 30. °C. The optimal temperature range is from 25 °C to 37 °C. Suitable pH is from pH 6 to 8, optimal pH is about pH 7. The generation time is around 30-60 minutes depending on the conditions. Aeration of the liquid cultures is required. Agitation is preferably 100rpm to 800rpm, more preferably 250 - 400 rpm.

[0054] "Biofuel" refers to solid, liquid or gaseous fuel mainly derived from biomass or biowaste and is different from fossil fuels, which are derived from the organic remains of prehistoric plants, animals and/or microorganisms.

[0055] In a preferred embodiment of the invention the lipids are produced by using Acinetobacter hosts of the present invention and recovered after cultivation and used as feedstock for the production of biodiesel, renewable diesel, jet fuel, gasoline or base oil components and the like.

[0056] By the term "biodiesel" is meant here diesel which consists of fatty acid alkyl esters, and is typically produced by transesterification. In transesterification, the acylglycerols are converted to long-chain fatty acid alkyl esters, such as methyl, ethyl or propyl esters. According to EU directive 2003/30/EU "biodiesel" refers to a methyl-ester produced from vegetable oil or animal oil, of diesel quality to be used as biofuel.

[0057] "Renewable diesel" refers to a fuel which is produced by a hydrogen treatment of lipids such as hydrogen deoxygenation, hydrogenation or hydroprocessing. In hydrogen treatment, acylglycerols are converted to corresponding alkanes i.e. paraffins or saturated hydrocarbons. The paraffins can be further modified by isomerization or by other process alternatives. Renewable diesel can be produced also from waxes derived from biomass by gasification and Fischer-Tropsch synthesis. Renewable diesel process is optionally used to produce jet fuel and/or gasoline. In addition, cracking of lipids can be performed to produce biofuels. Furthermore, lipids are preferably used as biofuels directly without any further treatment in certain applications.

[0058] Raw materials for the production biodiesel and/or renewable diesel can be originated from plant or vegetable oil, animal oil or fat or from a lipid from microorganism, such as bacterium, fungi (a yeast or a filamentous fungus) or a microalgae.

[0059] The production of renewable diesel has been described in patent publications EP 1396531, EP1398364, EP 1741767 and EP1741768.

[0060] Biodiesel or renewable diesel may be blended with diesel made from fossil fuels. Suitable additives, such as preservatives and antioxidants may be added to the fuel product.

[0061] "Lubricant" refers to a substance, such as grease, lipid or oil, that reduces friction when applied as a surface coating to moving parts. Two other main functions of a lubricant are heat removal and to dissolve impurities. Applications of lubricants include, but are not limited to uses in internal combustion engines as engine oils, additives in fuels, in oil-driven devices such as pumps and hydraulic equipment, or in different types of bearings. Typically lubricants contain 75-100% base oil and the rest is additives. Suitable additives are for example detergents, storage stabilizers, antioxidants, corrosion inhibitors, dehazers, demulsifiers, antifoaming agents, cosolvents, and lubricity additives (see for example US 7,691,792). Base oil for lubricant can originate from mineral oil, plant or vegetable oil, animal oil or fat or from a lipid from a microorganism. Base oil can also originate from waxes derived from biomass by gasification and Fischer-Tropsch synthesis. Viscosity index is used to characterise base oil. Typically high viscosity index is preferred.

[0062] In an embodiment of the invention biofuel is produced by a method, which comprises that Acinetobacter hosts of the present invention are cultivated under suitable cultivation conditions to produce lipids and the lipids are recovered. Biofuel or lubricant is produced by using the recovered lipids as a component or as a starting material for biofuel or lubricant production. "As a component" of biofuel or lubricant means that the lipids can be used without further treatment, but suitable additives may be added. "As a starting material" means that the lipids are treated with suitable methods, such as transesterification, hydrogen treatment (hydrogen deoxygenation, hydrogenation or hydroprocessing), isomerization, cracking etc.

[0063] In microorganisms storage compounds serve as energy, carbon or nitrogen source during periods of starvation of a microorganism. Due to the hydrophobic properties of reserve materials they can be accumulated into cells in large quantities without changing the osmotic pressure of the cell.

[0064] Acinefobacter genus bacteria produce storage lipids in the form of TAGs and wax esters (WE) by using an enzyme which has both TAG and WE activity. This has been shown in A. baylyi by Stöveken et al (2005) J Bacteriol. Feb; 187(4): 1369-76. The enzyme WS/DGAT bifunctional wax ester synthase/acyl coenzyme A:diacylglycerol acyltransferase, EC 2.3.1.75 and EC 2.3.1.20,catalyzing the synthesis of both wax esters and triacylglycerols is a membrane-bound bifunctional enzyme WS/DGAT encoded by the gene aftA. The enzyme possesses both acyl-CoA:fatty alcohol acyltransferase (wax ester synthase, WS) activity and acyl-CoA:diacylglycerol acyltransferase (DGAT) activity. The substrate range of the enzyme is wide and for example alkanes and fatty alcohols of several lengths can be utilized for lipid synthesis (Stöveken and Steinbüchel 2008). In genetical modificatios of the gene the encoded activities may change. Hence, in some embodiments of the invention a genetically modified nucleotide sequence encodes either or both activities, WS and/or DGAT.

[0065] Accumulation of TAG and WE usually occurs during stationary growth phase when a carbon source is present in the medium in excess and some nutrient, typically nitrogen, is limiting the growth, shifting the biosynthesis of phospholipids towards synthesis of neutral lipids.

[0066] Triacylglycerols and wax esters (WE) like many other storage compounds often occur as intracellular lipid inclusions. The quantity and properties, e.g. fatty acid chain lengths, is depend on the Acinetobacterstrain and growth conditions.

[0067] In one embodiment of the invention the production of lipids is increased in Acinetobacter hosts by genetically modifying the host to be deficient of one or more genes encoding proteins that are involved in competitive lipid metabolism or utilize the same substrates as the key enzymes of the host's lipid synthesis pathway. Competitive metabolism can refer to production of unwanted metabolites or other products in the cell or indirectly by consuming substrates or energy needed in the lipid synthesis.The increase or improvement can be achieved by making a gene in the host deficient. This can be made by any gene modification resulting in reduced production or activity of the gene. Typically this is made by gene inactivation, for example knocking out of a gene or genes. By making a specific gene(s) deficient leads to improvement of lipid production. This can be due to increase in biomass, blocking or silencing competitive metabolic reactions or pathways, activation of lipid production synthesis route, increase in growth rate, increase in substrate usage, blocking or silencing lipid degrading pathway or activity, redirecting the lipid production towards different lipid groups, or some unknown mechanism, or combination of those.

[0068] As described herein the gene modification resulting in reduced production or activity of a desired gene has been exemplified here by making deficient an Acinetobacter baylyi host, strain ADP1 and strain BP1.

[0069] "ACIADXXXX", such as ACIAD2177 means a gene in A. baylyi species, in strain ADP1. For example A. baylyi strain ADP1 has been made deficient of gene ACIAD2177. The modified strain lacking gene ACIAD2177 is called ACIAD2177. ACIAD numbers are identifiers that are systematically applied to every gene in the genome of Acinetobacter sp. ADP1. They are in sequential order on the genome.

[0070] In various embodiments of the invention the genes listed below may be made deficient in an Acinetobacter host. The functions of some specific gene deletions are discussed. However, the specific gene deficiencies may also have other functions and the combination of specific gene deficiencies may have several different functions.

[0071] A functional equivalent of a gene in an Acinetobacter host refers here to any nucleotide sequence causing when expressed in the host the same or equivalent function as the mentioned gene. A functional equivalent refers to a fragment, a gene having different nucleotide sequence or encoding different amino acid sequence, or the closest homologue in an Acinetobacter host, i.e. in another Acinetobacter species or in another Acinetobacter baylyi strain.

[0072] A gene encoding fatty acyl-CoA reductase means any gene in an Acinetobacter host encoding fatty acyl-CoA reductase having according to the Enzyme Classification the EC number EC1.2.1.n2. In a specific embodiment the gene is ACIAD 3383 (nucleotide sequence SEQ ID NO:1, encoded amino acid sequence SEQ ID NO:15), or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host. In some embodiments of the invention the inactivation or other deficiency of this gene increases TAG production as a competitive reaction is blocked. It is assumed that the gene ACIAD3383 is involved in converting the fatty acid chain to aldehyde which is further esterified with alcohol molecule. Thus, inactivation or other deficiency of the gene blocks the wax ester synthesis pathway. The ACIAD3383 knock-out strain possibly contains free long chain fatty acids.

[0073] A gene encoding lipase means any gene in an Acinetobacter host encoding lipase having according to the Enzyme Classification the EC number EC:3.1.1.3. In a specific embodiment of the invention the gene is ACIAD 3309 (nucleotide sequence SEQ ID NO:2, encoded amino acid sequence SEQ ID NO:16), or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host. The gene is annotated as TAG lipase but for unknown reason in various embodiments inactivation or other deficiency of the gene improves wax ester production. Without binding to any theory the lipase may possess activity on wax esters, thus preventing the mutant strain to degrade wax esters. In addition, inactivation or other deficiency of TAG lipase may inhibit the lipid degradation in long cultivations and downstream processing.

[0074] A gene encoding pyruvate dehydrogenase means any gene in an Acinetobacter host encoding pyruvate dehydrogenase having according to the Enzyme Classification the EC number (EC:1.2.2.2). In a specific embodiment the gene is ACIAD 3381 (nucleotide sequence SEQ ID NO:3, encoded amino acid sequence SEQ ID NO:17), or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host. In various embodiments of the invention inactivation or other deficiency of this gene blocks the synthesis of acetate as an over-flow metabolite, re-directing the carbon flow towards wax ester synthesis. The inactivation or other deficiency of this gene also increases and accelerates biomass production.

[0075] In a specific embodiment the gene is ACIAD 2177 (nucleotide sequence SEQ ID NO:4, amino acid sequence SEQ ID NO:18), or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host. The gene deficiency causes in some embodiments of the invention enhanced lipid production, although the function mechanism is not known.

[0076] A gene encoding diacylglycerol kinase means any gene in an Acinetobacter host encoding diacylglycerol kinase having according to the Enzyme Classification the EC number EC:2.7.1.107. In a specific embodiment the gene is ACIAD 2837 (nucleotide sequence SEQ ID NO:5, amino acid sequence SEQ ID NO:19), or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host. The corresponding protein (dgkA, diacylglycerol kinase) directs 1,2-diaclyglycerol to phospholipid synthesis. In some embodiments of the invention inactivation or other deficiency of the gene may prevent an accumulation of unwanted lipids in the cell.

[0077] A gene encoding succinate dehydrogenase means any gene in an Acinetobacter host encoding succinate dehydrogenase having according to the Enzyme Classification the EC number EC:1.3.5.1. In a specific embodiment the gene is ACIAD 2880 (nucleotide sequence SEQ ID NO:6, amino acid sequence SEQ ID NO:20), or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host. In various embodiments of the invention inactivation or other deficiency of the gene in a host may increase the amount of glycerol in the cell, which is needed for acylglycerol, such as TAG, synthesis.

[0078] A gene encoding glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase means any gene in an Acinetobacter host encoding glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase having according to the Enzyme Classification the EC number EC 1.1.5.3. In a specific embodiment the gene is ACIAD 2844 (nucleotide sequence SEQ ID NO:7, encoded amino acid sequence SEQ ID NO:21), or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host. In some embodiments of the invention gene ACIAD2844 has similar function as ACIAD2880.

[0079] A gene encoding cytochrome o ubiquinol oxidase subunit II means any gene in an Acinetobacter host encoding cytochrome o ubiquinol oxidase subunit II having according to the Enzyme Classification the EC number EC:1.10.3.-. In a specific embodiment of the invention the gene is ACIAD 2425 (nucleotide sequence SEQ ID NO:8,encoded amino acid sequence SEQ ID NO:22) or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host. In some embodiments of the invention the gene deficiency causes enhanced lipid production. The advantages obtained by inactivation or other deficiency of the gene may be based on increased production of acetyl-CoA for fatty acid synthesis.The advantages are considered to be similar as in strain being deficient of ACIAD2426 or ACIAD2291.

[0080] A gene encoding cytochrome o ubiquinol oxidase subunit I means any gene in an Acinetobacter host encoding cytochrome o ubiquinol oxidase subunit I having according to the Enzyme Classification the EC number EC:1.10.3.-. In a specific embodiment the gene is ACIAD 2426 (nucleotide sequence SEQ ID NO:9, encoded amino acid sequence SEQ ID NO:23), or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host. The advantages of the deficiency of the gene are considered to be similar as in strain being deficient of ACIAD2425 or ACIAD2291. A gene encoding cytochrome d terminal oxidase polypeptide subunit II means any gene in an Acinetobacter host encoding cytochrome d terminal oxidase polypeptide subunit II having according to the Enzyme Classification the EC number EC1.10.3.-. In a specific embodiment the gene is ACIAD 2291 (nucleotide sequence SEQ ID NO:10, encoded amino acid sequence SEQ ID NO:24), or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host .The advantages are considered to be similar as in strain being deficient of ACIAD2425 or ACIAD2426.

[0081] A gene encoding carboxylesterase means any gene in an Acinetobacter host encoding carboxylesterase having according to Enzyme Classification the EC number EC:3.1.1.1. In a specific embodiment the gene is ACIAD 3648 (nucleotide sequence SEQ ID NO:11, encoded amino acid sequence SEQ ID NO:25), or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host. In some embodiments of the invention the inactivation or other deficiency of the gene prevents wax ester degradation in the cell. The protein encoded by the gene is annotated as esterase (wax ester lipase).

[0082] A gene encoding esterase means any gene in an Acinetobacter host encoding esterase. In a specific embodiment the gene is ACIAD 1134 (nucleotide sequence SEQ ID NO:12, encoded amino acid sequence SEQ ID NO:26), or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host. In some embodiments of the invention the gene deficiency prevents lipid degradation in the cell.

[0083] A gene encoding lipase means any gene in an Acinetobacter host encoding lipase having according to the Enzyme Classification the EC number EC:3.1.1.3. In a specific embodiment the gene is ACIAD 1121 (nucleotide sequence SEQ ID NO:13,encoded amino acid sequence SEQ ID NO:27); or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host s. In some embodiments of the invention the function is considered to be similar as of the deficiency of gene ACIAD1134.

[0084] A gene encoding acyl-CoA synthetase means any gene in an Acinetobacter host encoding acyl-CoA synthetase having according to the Enzyme Classification the EC number (EC:6.2.1.3). In a specific embodiment the gene is ACIAD 0235 (nucleotide sequence SEQ ID NO:14, encoded amino acid sequence SEQ ID NO:28) or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host. In some embodiments of the invention the deficiency of the gene in a host inhibits competitive metabolism, in which the fatty acids are directed to degradation.

[0085] In some embodiments of the invention the following combinations of gene deficiency are of advantage:

In an embodiment an Acinetobacter host is made deficient of genes encoding pyruvate dehydrogenase (EC:1.2.2.2), fatty acyl-CoA reductase (EC1.2.1.n2) and lipase (EC:3.1.1.3), for example a strain being deficient of genes ACIAD3381, ACIAD3383 and ACIAD3309 or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host. A preferred example of such strain is "Qm", the construction of which is described in the examples.The combination of the above gene deficiencies is expected to increase both biomass and TAG compared to single gene deficiencies (ACIAD3381, ACIAD3383 or ACIAD3309). Deficiency of ACIAD3383 blocks the WE synthesis (competitive reaction pathway). As WE seems to be an over-flow metabolite for ACIAD3381 and potentially also for ACIAD3309, the combination of these three deficiencies are assumed to force the cell to produce more TAG. In addition, making deficient the ACIAD3381 potentially prevents the synthesis of acetate. Making deficient TAG lipase is expected to inhibit the lipid degradation in long cultivations and downstream processing.



[0086] In an embodiment an Acinetobacter host is made deficient of genes encoding pyruvate dehydrogenase (EC:1.2.2.2), fatty acyl-CoA reductase (EC1.2.1.n2) and diacylglycerol kinase (EC:2.7.1.107), for example a strain being deficient of genes ACIAD3381, ACIAD3383 and ACIAD2837, or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host. These gene deficiencies have same expected outcomes as the above described gene deficiencies exemplified by srain "Qm". Instead of the gene deficiency ACIAD3309, the strain is made deficient of gene ACIAD2837, which inhibits unwanted lipids to accumulate in the cell.

[0087] In an embodiment an Acinetobacter host is made deficient of genes encoding pyruvate dehydrogenase (EC:1.2.2.2), fatty acyl-CoA reductase (EC1.2.1.n2) and gene ACIAD2177, or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host, for example a strain being deficient of genes ACIAD3381, ACIAD3383 and ACIAD2177, or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host. These gene deficiencies have same expected outcomes as the above described gene deficiencies exemplified in strain Qm. Instead of the gene deficiency ACIAD3309, the strain is made deficient of gene ACIAD2177, which which has been experimentally shown to improve lipid production.

[0088] In an embodiment an Acinetobacter host is made deficient of genes encoding pyruvate dehydrogenase (EC:1.2.2.2), lipase (EC:3.1.1.3) and/or carboxyl esterase, for example a strain being deficient of genes ACIAD3381, ACIAD3309 and/or ACIAD3648, or a functional equivalent thereof in an Acinetobacter host . The combination of the gene deficiencies increases in some embodiments both biomass and wax ester production. As WE seems to be an over-flow metabolite for ACIAD3381 and potentially also for ACIAD3309, the combination of these two deletions may force the cell to produce more WE. In addition, making deficient the gene ACIAD3381 potentially prevents the synthesis of acetate. Deficiency of lipases inhibits the lipid degradation in long cultivations and downstream processing.

[0089] Within the scope of the present invention are also functional equivalents of the genes in an Acinetobacter host i.e. other nucleotide sequences of the described genes comprising shorter forms of said genes, or nucleotide sequences having deletions, substitutions, insertions or other modifications compared to the described genes or the closest homologues of the genes in an Acinetobacter host , but having the same or equivalent function as the described genes.

[0090] When searching for genes corresponding to the described genes of A. baylyi ADP1 in other Acinetobacter strains or species, it is evident that the corresponding genes may have small variations in the nucleotide sequence, but that such small variations in the nucleotide sequence of a gene do not significantly change the catalytic properties of the encoded protein. Also the deficiency of said genes is likely to cause the same or similar effect as the deficiency of the described genes in A. baylyi ADP1. For example many changes in the nucleotide sequence do not change the amino acid sequence of the encoded protein. Also an amino acid sequence may have variations, which do not change the functional properties of a protein, in particular they do not prevent an enzyme from carrying out its catalytic function. Such variations in the nucleotide sequence or DNA molecules or in an amino acid sequence are known as "functional equivalents", because they do not significantly change the function of the gene to encode a protein with a particular function, e.g. catalyzing a particular reaction or, respectively, change the particular function of the protein. The deficiency of genes being functional equivalents of the described genes causes equivalent effects to the Acinetobacter host in question as the deficiency of the described genes in A. baylyi ADP1. Within the scope of the present invention are functional equivalents, including fragments or other modifications, or closest homologues of the above listed genes, in particular functional equivalents of nucleotide sequences SEQ ID NO: 1 to 14, or amino acid sequences SEQ ID NO: 15 to 28.

[0091] Within the scope of the present invention are genes showing at least 70 %, preferably at least 75 %, preferably at least 80 %, preferably at least 85 %, more preferably at least 90 %, still more preferably at least 95 %, more and more preferably at least 98 % identity to any of the nucleotide sequences SEQ ID NO: 1 to 14.

[0092] Within the scope of the present invention are genes encoding amino acid sequences showing at least 50%, preferably at least 60 % identity, preferably at least 65 %, preferably at least 70 %, preferably at least 75 %, preferably at least 80 %, preferably at least 85 %, more preferably at least 90 %, still more preferably at least 95 %, more and more preferably at least 98 % identity to any of the amino acid sequences SEQ ID NO: 15 to 28.

[0093] Within the scope of the present invention are genes comprising any of the nucleotide sequences SEQ ID NO:1 to 14.

[0094] Within the scope of the present invention are genes encoding proteins comprising any of the amino acid sequences SEQ ID NO:15 to 28.

[0095] The term "identity", refers to the identity between two nucleic acid or amino acid sequences, respectively compared to each other from the first nucleic acid to the last nucleic acid or from the first amino acid encoded by the corresponding gene to the last amino acid. The identity of the full-length sequences can be measured by using BLAST program (Altschul, S. F., T.L. Madden, A. A. Schaffer, J. Zhang, Z. Zhang, W. Miller und D. J. Lipman 1997. Gapped BLAST and PSI-BLAST: a new generation of protein database search programs. Nucleic Acids Res. 25:3389-3402). In the comparison is preferably used nucleotide sequence without signal sequence or the mature sequences of the proteins.

[0096] Within the scope of the present invention are also the closest homologues of the genes in other Acinetobacter species or strains. The "closest homologue of an Acinetobacter gene" in other species or strains means here a gene that has the highest percentage of identical nucleotides with the Acinetobacter gene of all the genes of the organism; or a gene whose protein product has the highest percentage of identical amino acids with the protein product encoded by the Acinetobacter gene of all the gene products of the organism. The nucleotide or amino acid sequences may be aligned and the percentage of sequence identity in the aligned sequences can be used as a measure to identify the closest, homologue of the gene in the other organism. This can be done by using public databases and tools, for example BLAST search.

[0097] Within the scope of the present invention are also functional equivalents of said genes hybridizing under stringent conditions to said genes or said homologues. The hybridization is preferably carried out under stringent hybridization conditions. Stringent conditions can be defined as hybridization at 65°C in a low salt concentration, 1.5 mM sodium citrate, pH 7.0 and 0.015 NaCI, according to Boehringer Mannheim's manual, DIG System User's Guide for Filter hybridization.

[0098] The deficiency of gene(s) leading to improvement of lipid production can be due to increase in biomass, blocking or silencing competitive metabolic reactions or pathways, activation of lipid production synthesis route, increase in growth rate, increase in substrate usage, blocking or silencing lipid degrading pathway or activity, redirecting the lipid production towards different lipid groups, or some unknown mechanism, or combination of those.

[0099] As disclosed herein some embodiments of the invention have been exemplified by constructing and verifying the following gene deficiency combinations: ACIAD(3381, 3383, 3309), ACIAD(3383, 2880), ACIAD(2177, 3381, 3383), ACIAD(2837, 3381, 3383).

[0100] In various embodiments of the invention one or more of the following genes or functional equivalents thereof can be made deficient in an Acinetobacter host : ACIAD3381, ACIAD3309, ACIAD2837, ACIAD2177, ACIAD3383, ACIAD2880, ACIAD2844, ACIAD2425, ACIAD2426, ACIAD2291, ACIAD3648, ACIAD1121, ACIAD1134 or ACIAD0235, in combination with one or more of the following genes ACIAD3381, ACIAD3309, ACIAD2837, ACIAD2177, ACIAD3383, ACIAD2880, ACIAD2844, ACIAD2425, ACIAD2426, ACIAD2291, ACIAD3648, ACIAD1121, ACIAD1134, ACIAD0235 or or a functional equivalent of said genes in an Acinetobacter host.In Table 1 has been listed the genes made deficient in an Acinetobacter host and the assumed function causing the effects to the lipid metabolism.
Table 1. Gene deficiencies related to lipid metabolism and their hypothetic functions.
gene IDGene nameProductECworking hypothesesGroup
ACIAD2837 dgkA diacylglycerol kinase EC 2.7.1.107 directs 1,2-diacylglycerol (substrate for WS/GDAT) to phospholipid synthesis competitive metabolism
ACIAD3383 acr1 fatty acyl-CoA reductase (hexadecanal dehydrogenase,acylating) EC 1.2.1.n2 converts fatty acid fo aldehyde; in abscence of 3383 wax esters are not formed competitive metabolism
ACIAD2880 sdhA succinate dehydrogenase, flavoprotein subunit EC 1.3.5.1 takes part in citric acid cycle; in absence of 2880, more free glycerol is in the cell? glycerol metabolism
ACIAD2844 glpD glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase EC 1.1.5.3 in absence, more glycerol for WS and/or DGAT? glycerol metabolism
ACIAD2425 cyoA cytochrome o ubiquinol oxidase subunit II EC 1.10.3.- not clear other
ACIAD2426 cyoB cytochrome o ubiquinol oxidase subunit I EC 1.10.3.- not clear other
ACIAD2291 cydB cytochrome d terminal oxidase polypeptide subunit II EC 1.10.3.- not clear other
ACIAD3381 poxB pyruvate dehydrogenase (cytochrome) EC 1.2.2.2 acetate production; in absence of 3381, significantly more WE is formed enhanced WE production
ACIAD3648 estA carboxylesterase (ALI-esterase) (B-esterase) (MONOBUTYRASE) (Cocaine esterase) (PROCAINE esterase) (METHYLBUTYRASE) EC 3.1.1.1 esterase, lipase for WE lipase + enhanced WE production
ACIAD1134 aesT esterase ? esterase, lipase for WE lipase
ACIAD3309 - lipase EC 3.1.1.3 TAG lipase, in absence also more WE are produced lipase + enhanced WE production
ACIAD1121 lip1 lipase EC:3.1.1.3 lipase lipase
ACIAD0235 fadD acyl-CoA synthetase (long-chain-fatty-acid-CoA ligase) EC 6.2.1.3 control of the destruction of fatty acids competitive metabolism
ACID2177 - conserved hypothetical protein ? not clear enhanced lipid production


[0101] In one still further embodiment of the invention the Acinetobacter host may be genetically modified to express one or more genes encoding the enzymes of lipid biosynthesis pathway with or without making the host deficient in one or more of the genes described in Table 1 or functional equivalents thereof. The gene may be endogenous or exogenous to the Acinetobacter host.

[0102] The term "endogenous gene" refers here to a gene which is natural to an Acinetobacter host.

[0103] The term "exogenous gene" refers here to a gene which is not natural to an Acinetobacter host.

[0104] "Genetical modification" of an Acinetobacter host means here any genetic modification method by which an Acinetobacter host is modified to express a specific endogenous or exogenous gene and/or to be deficient of a specific gene or genes. Genetical modification methods for an Actinetobacter host are available and well known for a person skilled in the art and disclosed for example in Metzgar et al. 2004.

[0105] In one still further embodiment of the invention the host may be genetically modified to express a gene encoding diacylglyserol synthase enzyme and/or to overexpress a gene encoding wax ester synthase and/or acyl-CoA:diacylglycerol acyltransferase (WS and/or DGAT).

[0106] In one embodiment of the invention the WE/TAG synthesis of Acinetobacter may be made more efficient to the direction of TAG production. This can be achieved by expressing a gene producing TAG or a similar kind of gene having TAG synthesizing activity, but which lacks WE synthesizing activity. Suitable gene for directing the lipid synthesis towards TAG production in Acinetobacter host is a gene encoding diacylglycerol acyltransferase (DGAT) (EC 2.3.1.20).

[0107] A gene encoding acylglycerol synthase enzyme (EC 2.3.1.20) is typically an exogenous gene to an Acinetobacter host. Preferably it originates from a Streptomyces bacterium. For example in Streptomyces coelicolor gene sco0958 encodes TAG producing activity, but not WE producing activity. The gene sco0958 (gene ID number 101096381) catalyzes the ultimate step in the biosynthesis of TAGs (Arabolaza et al., 2008). As herein described the effect of a gene encoding acylglyserol synthase enzyme has been exemplified by using a codon-optimized synthetic gene (raSVa) (SEQ ID NO:29) encoding amino acid sequence analogous to sco0958 from Streptomyces coelicolor (SEQ ID NO:30).

[0108] A gene encoding WS/DGAT typically originates from the same or another Acinetobacter species as the Acinetobacter host to be modified. Acinetobacter genus bacteria produce storage lipids in the form of TAGs and wax esters (WE) by using an enzyme which has both TAG and WE activity. For example in A.baylyi the enzyme WS/DGAT, bifunctional wax ester synthase/acyl coenzyme A:diacylglycerol acyltransferase, EC 2.3.1.75 and EC 2.3.1.20 is encoded by gene aftA (SEQ ID NO: 31) and comprise the amino acid sequence (SEQ ID NO:32). The enzyme possesses both acyl-CoA:fatty alcohol acyltransferase (wax ester synthase, WS) activity and acyl-CoA:diacylglycerol acyltransferase (DGAT) activity. In some embodiments of the invention a genetically modified nucleotide sequence encodes either or both activities, WS and/or DGAT.

[0109] It is evident that small variations in the nucleotide sequence of a gene do not significantly change the catalytic properties of the encoded protein. For example many changes in the nucleotide sequence do not change the amino acid sequence of the encoded protein. Also an amino acid sequence may have variations, which do not change the functional properties of a protein, in particular they do not prevent an enzyme from carrying out its catalytic function. Such variations in the nucleotide sequence or DNA molecules or in an amino acid sequence are known as "functional equivalents", because they do not significantly change the function of the gene to encode a protein with a particular function, e.g. catalyzing a particular reaction or, respectively, change the particular function of the protein. Within the scope of the present invention are functional equivalents, including fragments, derivatives, genes having different nucleotide sequence or encoding different amino acid sequence, modified forms or closest homologues of the nucleotide sequence SEQ ID NO:29 or SEQ ID NO:31, or of the amino acid sequence SEQ ID NO: 30 or SEQ ID NO:32.

[0110] Within the scope of the present invention are also a nucleotide sequence showing at least 70 %, preferably at least 75 %, preferably at least 80 %, preferably at least 85 %, more preferably at least 90 %, still more preferably at least 95 %, more and more preferably at least 98 % identity to nucleotide sequence SEQ ID NO:29 or SEQ ID NO:31.

[0111] Within the scope of the present invention are also a nucleotide sequence encoding an amino acid sequence showing at least 70 %, preferably at least 75 %, preferably at least 80 %, preferably at least 85 %, more preferably at least 90 %, still more preferably at least 95 %, more and more preferably at least 98 % identity to amino acid sequence SEQ ID NO:30 or SEQ ID NO:32.

[0112] The term "identity" refers to the identity between two nucleic acid or amino acid sequences, respectively compared to each other from the first nucleic acid to the last nucleic acid or from the first amino acid encoded by the corresponding gene to the last amino acid. The identity of the full-length sequences can be measured by using Needleman-Wunsch global alignment program at EMBOSS program package (European Molecular Biology Open Software Suite; Rice et al., 2000) Alternatively, or in addition, identity can be measured by ClustalW -software. In the comparison is preferably used the nucleotide sequences without signal sequence or mature sequences of the proteins without signal sequence.

[0113] Within the scope of the present invention are nucleotide sequences causing the same function or equivalent function as said genes sco0958 (SEQ ID NO:29) or aftA (SEQ ID NO:31). Such nucleotide sequences are fragments, derivatives, genes having different nucleotide sequence or encoding different amino acid sequence, modified forms of said genes, the closest homologues of said genes in various Streptomyces species (as regards to sco0958) or in various Acinetobacter species (as regards to aftA), or nucleotide sequences which hybridize to at least one of said genes or said homologues.

[0114] The hybridization is preferably carried out under stringent hybridization conditions. Stringent conditions can be defined as hybridization at 65°C in a low salt concentration, 1.5 mM sodium citrate, pH 7.0 and 0.015 NaCl, according to Boehringer Mannheim's manual, DIG System User's Guide for Filter hybridization.

[0115] Within the scope of the present invention are also the closest homologues of the genes in other Streptomyces (as regards to sco0958) or Acinetobacter (as regards to aftA) species or strains. The "closest homologue of a Streptomyces" or "an Acinetobacter gene" in other species or strains means here a gene that has the highest percentage of identical nucleotides with the Streptomyces or Acinetobacter gene, respectively, of all the genes of the organism; or a gene whose protein product has the highest percentage of identical amino acids with the protein product encoded by the Streptomyces or Acinetobacter gene of all the gene products of the organism. The nucleotide or amino acid sequences may be aligned and the percentage of sequence identity in the aligned sequences can be used as a measure to identify the closest homologue of the gene in the other organism. This can be done by using public databases and tools, for example BLAST search.

[0116] Micro-organisms capable of producing enzymes involved in lipid biosynthesis can be screened, the activity on various substrates can be determined, and the enzyme characterized. Nucleotide sequences encoding enzymes involved in lipid biosynthesis in various organisms can be isolated and the nucleotide sequences can be compared with the nucleotide sequences SEQ ID NO: 29 or SEQ ID NO:31 and the amino acid sequences can be compared with the amino acid sequences SEQ ID NO: 30 or SEQ ID NO:32. A person skilled in the art can also identify a conserved region in the nucleotide or amino acid sequence and clone a gene fragment using for example PCR techniques. After sequencing the fragment the complete gene can be obtained for example by using cDNA library in a vector. A nucleotide sequence encoding the enzyme can be identified also by nucleic acid hybridization.

[0117] Standard molecular biology methods can be used in the cloning of the genes i.e. in the isolation and enzyme treatments of DNA, in E. coli transformations, the isolation of a fragment comprising the gene by amplification in a PCR reaction (Coen D M, 2001) and in the techniques for codon change. The basic methods used are described in the standard molecular biology handbooks, e.g. Sambrook et al. (1990) and Sambrook and Russell (2001). Insertion of the nucleotide sequence under a strong promoter in an expression vector, transfer of the vector into suitable host cells and cultivation of the host cells in conditions provoking production of said enzyme. Methods for protein production by recombinant technology in different host systems are well known in the art (Gellissen, 2005).

[0118] Within the scope of the present invention is any gene, that has the same or equivalent effect as the above described genes. Within the scope of the present invention are also genes, which are highly homologous to the genes of interest. The gene introduced to Acinetobacter may encode Acinetobacter diacylglycerol synthase enzyme or a homologous enzyme or an enzyme having the equivalent function. The gene introduced to Acinetobacter may encode Acinetobacter WS and/or DGAT enzyme or a homologous enzyme or an enzyme having the equivalent function.

[0119] A gene encoding an enzyme producing TAG or WE or both can be linked to a part of an expression system functioning in anAcinetobacter host and it can be transferred to the cell with a gene technology method or by using the natural transformation capability of Acinetobacter. The gene encoding an enzyme producing TAG or WE or both can originate from a known organism or it can originate from a yet unknown organism, for example metagenomic library.

[0120] In addition to modifying an Acinetobacter host to express or overexpress specific gene(s), the host may be genetically modified to be deficient of specific gene(s). The genetic modifications may be made in any suitable order or at the same time. Typically the host is first made deficient of specific genes and after that other desired genes are introduced to the host cell. By various genetic modification the WE/TAG ratio and/or amount can be changed.

[0121] The effect of expression or overexpression of a gene on lipid production can be studied by culturing the modified host under conditions suitable for lipid production.

[0122] Genetically modifying an Acinetobacter host to express an endogenous or exogenous gene can be carried out for example by introducing into an Acinetobacter host an exogenous gene or an additional copy or copies of an endogenous gene. The gene may be expressed under a promoter recognized by the Acinetobacter host. In some embodiments the gene may be expressed under another promoter resulting in increased expression of the gene. Alternatively the Acinetobacter host may be genetically modified so that either the gene is more abundantly expressed or that the activity of the gene product is increased.

[0123] "Regulatory elements" refer to regulatory elements which can regulate the expression of a gene introduced into a host cell, here in particular into Acinetobacter. Regulatory elements include promoters, terminators, enhancers and signal sequences.

[0124] "Expression" or "overexpression of a gene" refers here in particular to a gene of the lipid biosynthesis pathway. A desired gene can be introduced into an Acinetobacter host as an additional copy or copies of a specific gene, or expressing the gene under another promoter resulting in increased expression of the gene, or otherwise genetically modifying the host so that either the gene is more abundantly expressed or the activity of the gene product is increased.

[0125] The genes have been numbered and named according to A. baylyi strain ADP1, and they can bave different names in different Acinetobacter species and strains. The genes have the same or partly the same function in different Acinefobacfer species and strains. The function can be predicted based for example on sequence data.

[0126] Genetic engineering of Acinetobacter hosts, exemplified here by A. baylyi species host can be done by exploiting the capability of the host to undergo natural transformation and homologous recombination. In natural transformation DNA molecule is brought into cells through membranes by mechanism, which is regulated by specific competence genes of the host. Of the genus Acinetobacter, the strains of A. baylyi (ADP1, B2T, 93A2, A7, and C5) are naturally transformable. The competence can be induced by transferring cells of stationary growth phase to fresh media; it has been shown that the competence for natural transformation in ADP1 is developed immediately after the start of exponential growth phase and lasts until the stationary growth phase. For example, if the DNA fragment (linear or circular) to be transformed contains flanking regions of a specific target gene of the host, the gene will be replaced (i.e. knocked-out) with the DNA fragment. The target gene can be also inactivated by gene knock-down. Knockdown refers to techniques by which the expression of genes is reduced via genetic modification (a change in the genome) or treatment with a reagent such as a short DNA or RNA with a capacity to specifically bind to a transcript or a gene of interest. After incubation of 1-12 h, the cells can be selected on a plate containing appropriate selection agent, such as antibiotic.

[0127] Alternatively, Red/ET recombineering can be applied for making gene knockouts, as the method is not restricted to naturally competent bacteria. The method is most commonly used to generate simple gene replacements, substituting a drug marker in place of the gene of interest. In Red/ET recombineering, a generated PCR product contains a drug marker flanked by ∼40 bp of target sequence. The PCR product is purified and electroporated into the host containing the λ Red + Gam (or RecET + A Gam) recombination system (from bacteriophage). After growing the cells for 1-2 hours, the culture is plated on antibiotic-selection media for growth of the drug resistant transformant. The gene replacement can be verified phenotypically, or by a PCR using primers upstream, downstream, or within the drug marker. For example, this technology has been used to generate a gene knockout in every nonessential gene in the E. coli chromosome.

[0128] For genetic engineering of prokaryotes, also commercial kits are available (for example Targe Tron, Sigma).

Recovery of Lipids



[0129] In various embodiments of the invention, lipids, can be recovered from Acinetobacter cell biomass or culture broth using any method known in the art or developed in the future. For example, bacteria are separated from the medium using a filtration or decanting techniques. Alternatively, centrifugation with industrial scale commercial centrifuges of large volume capacity are used to separate the desired products.

[0130] In some embodiments of the invention, bacterial cells are disrupted to facilitate the separation of lipids and other components. Any method known for cell disruption may be used, such as ultrasonication, osmotic shock, mechanical shear force, cold press, thermal shock, enzyme-catalyzed or self-directed autolysis. Lipids can be recovered from cells by extraction with organic solvents or by any method known in the art or developed in the future.

[0131] The strains, methods, cultivation conditions, ingredients for fermentation and the process as disclosed and claimed herein concern technology that supports large scale and economical cultivation of Acinetobacter bacteria. This technology is useful to support industrial manufacturing of lipids by Acinetobacter bacteria.

Production of biofuel



[0132] The lipids produced with the method described in this invention can be used as a raw material or as a component in the raw material for the production of biofuel, in particular biodiesel, renewable diesel, jet fuel or gasoline. Biodiesel consists of fatty acid alkyl esters, and is typically produced by transesterification. In transesterification, the acylglycerols are converted to long-chain fatty acid alkyl (methyl, ethyl or propyl) esters. Renewable diesel refers to fuel which is produced by hydrogen treatment (hydrogen deoxygenation, hydrogenation or hydroprocessing) of lipids. In hydrogen treatment, acylglycerols are converted to corresponding alkanes (paraffins). The alkanes (paraffins) can be further modified by isomerization or by other process alternatives. Renewable diesel process can also be used to produce jet fuel and/or gasoline. In addition, cracking of lipids can be performed to produce biofuels. Further, lipids can be used as biofuels directly in certain applications. Lipids can be also used as a component of biofuel. Further, lipids can be mixed with fossil fuels and co-processed to produce transportation fuels with bio-content or biocomponents.

[0133] The Acinetobacter lipids are beneficial for the production of biofuel. Further, the main fatty chain lenghts are mainly from C12 (12 carbons) to C18 (18 carbons), which is advantageous for the utilization in diesel applications. The lipids in Acinetobacter are rather saturated (fatty acids contain low amout of double bonds). The fatty acid saturation is advantageous especially for renewable diesel production since it reduces the amount of hydrogen in hydrogen treatment, and therefore lowers the production (operation) cost.

[0134] Acinetobacter hosts showing suitable properties for industrial useful fermentation processes, in particular for biofuel production, can be further improved by any known strain improvement methods, such as natural selection, random mutagenization, and by genetic engineering. In addition, for industrial use are chosen species and strains which are non-pathogenic and non-virulent to human or animals.

Examples


Example 1: Improvement of total lipid production


Strains



[0135] Acinetobacter baylyi ADP1 wild type, also referred as BD413, is available to the public at American Type Culture Collection (ATCC, Accession number 33305). The natural wild type strain B2 is available to the public at Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH (DSMZ, Accession number 14961). Single gene knock-out mutants lacking the gene in question are referred as the gene name ACIAD[number], for example ACIAD3381 means ADP1 strain lacking the gene ACIAD3381.

[0136] The widely studied laboratory strain ADP1 does not carry any virulence or pathogenicity factors. Furthermore, most of the antibiotics used with E. coli are also effective against ADP1. ADP1 has competence to undergo natural transformation via an efficient DNA uptake and homologous recombination.

Growth conditions



[0137] ADP1 strains were cultivated in LB (10 g/l tryptone, 5 g/l yeast extract, 10 g/l NaCl, pH 7), M9 minimal medium (6 g/l Na2HPO4, 3 g/l KH2PO4, 1 g/l NH4Cl, 0.5 g/l NaCl, 2 mM MgSO4, 0.1 mM CaCl2) or MA/9 minimal medium (Table2) supplemented with appropriate carbon source. In some experiments the media were supplemented with 0.2 % casein amino acids, and/or yeast extract and appropriate antibiotics. Temperature was set to 30 °C and shaking for aeration to 300 rpm and glucose was used as a substrate if not stated otherwise. For plate cultivations, medium components were the same except 15 g/l agar was added to the medium before autoclaving. All the components were provided by Sigma (USA) if not stated otherwise.
Table 2. Medium components MA/9
Component/ liter medium
Na2HPO4 · 2 H2O 5.518 g
KH2PO4 3.402 g
NH4Cl 0.963 g
Nitrilotriacetic acid 0.008 g
NaCl 1.0 g
FeCl3 0.487 mg
FeSO4 · 7 H2O 5.6 mg
MgSO4 · 7 H2O 250 mg
CaCl2 · 2 H2O 20 mg
NaCl 117 mg
MnSO4 · 4 H2O 0.56 mg
ZnSO4 · 7 H2O 0.140 mg
Co(NO3)2 · 6 H2O 0.150 mg
CuSO4 · 5 H2O 0.130 mg
Na2MoO4 · 2 H2O 0.120 mg
H3BO3 0.160 mg
EDTA III 22.7 mg

Substrate tests



[0138] The following substrates (at concentrations ∼1 %) were tested on ADP1 strains: glucose, xylose, cellobiose, starch, acetate, succinate, casein amino acids, and algae biomass The compounds tested as carbon and energy source were provided by Sigma, if not stated otherwise. The strains B2, and strains lacking one of the following genes ACIAD3383, ACIAD2844, ACIAD2880, and ACIAD2837 were cultivated in 50 ml MA/9 medium at 30 °C and 300 rpm. Parallel cultivations with and without cas.amino acids were carried out. The optical densities (OD600 value) were measured after 24 hours cultivation.
Table 3. Substrate utilization of the genetically modified strains variable substrates with or without casaminoacids.
OD600, 24 h
    ACIADstrai
   number   
  casam B2 3383 2844 2880 2837
Glucose + 9.64 13.51 10.29 12.44 11.32
  - 1.35 6.54 7.54 0.068 5.44
Starch + 1.0 1.3 1.52 1.32 1.47
  - <0.1 <0.1 0.1 <0.1 <0.1
Cellobiose + 2.22 1.27 1.11 1.17 1.23
  - <0.1 <0.1 <0.1 <0.1 <0.1
Xylose + 2.22 2.07 2.06 1.72 1.68
  - <0.1 <0.1 <0.1 <0.1 <0.1
Algae biomass + 4 N.D. N.D. N.D. N.D.
  - 2 N.D. N.D. N.D. N.D.
Acetate + 4.22 N.D. N.D. N.D. N.D.
  - 0.21 N.D. N.D. N.D. N.D.
Succinate + N.D. N.D. N.D. N.D. N.D.
  - 1.23 0.70 N.D. N.D. N.D.
Cas.amino acids   1.10 1.05 1.07 0.86 1.25


[0139] Of the tested substrates, glucose with and without amino acids was utilized most effectively, strains ACIAD3383 and ACIAD2844 possessing the highest OD600 values. The minimal salts medium supplied only with cas. amino acids resulted in OD600 value around one in all strains, suggesting that for example starch and cellobiose were utilized to only minor extent if any. However, the utilization of acetate demonstrates well the strain's capability to co-metabolism: the presence of amino acids boosts significantly the acetate utilization. Strain B2 was also cultivated on oil-extracted algae Chlorella residue as a carbon and energy source. The strain grew well on oil-extracted algae indicated that this material is potential raw material for cultivations. Acinetobacter strains were able to grow on glucose, which is important feature since glucose is a main component in sugar crop based carbohydrates, such as wheat or corn starch or sugar cane or beet sugar, and also in cellulose fraction of lignocellulosic materials such as agricultural residues (e.g. straw, stalk, bagasse), wood materials and herbaceous materials. .Acinetobacter strains were able to grow also on xylose, which is important feature since xylose is abundant component is hemicellulose fractions of several lignocellulosic materials, e.g. agricultural residues like rice or wheat straw, corn stover or bagasse, wood materials like softwood and energy crops like switchgrass, reed canary grass, macroalgae (seeweed) and Miscanthus.

Antibiotic tests



[0140] The sensitivity of ADP1 to different antibiotics was tested on LB medium and/or on LA plates. The antibiotics and concentrations used are listed in the Table 4. The antibiotics were provided by Sigma.
Table 4. The antibiotics and concentrations tested with ADP1.
Antibiotic nameConcentration, µg/ml
Kanamycin 15-250
Tetracycline 1-20
Ampicillin 100
Chloramphenicol 25-50

Genetic engineering of ADP1



[0141] The molecular work was carried out by using methods well known to a person skilled in the art. For digestions and ligations, the enzymes and buffers were provided by Fermentas (Lithuania) and used according to provider's instructions. PCR reagents were provided by Finnzymes (Finland) (DNA polymerase Phusion™ and buffer) and Fermentas (nucleotides). Primers were ordered from ThermoFisher Scientific (USA) with appropriate restriction sites, and the annealing temperatures were calculated according to Finnzymes' instructions.

[0142] The transformation of ADP1 was carried out as follows; briefly, a linear DNA fragment with flanking regions of the target site in genome was inserted to ADP1 cultivation in an exponential growth phase. The cultivation was conducted at 30 °C and stirring of 300 rpm using LB medium supplied with 1 % glucose. For transformation, ∼2 µg DNA was used per 1 ml of cultivation. After insertion, the cultivation was incubated for 2-3 h and then spread on a selective LA plate supplied with an appropriate antibiotic and glucose. The plate was incubated at 30 °C until colonies appeared. Negative controls were cultivated in the same method except for insertions sterile water was used instead of DNA fragments.

Construction of synthetic gene cassettes for knock-outs and over-expression



[0143] The six gene cassette components were amplified separately by PCR: flanking region upstream of the target gene, for example ACIAD2837 (GeneY) was amplified from ADP1 by colony PCR with appropriate primers and flanking region downstream of the target gene, for example ACIAD2837 (GeneY'), respectively. The promoter T5 (lac/T5) was amplified from plasmid pCSS810 (Tauriainen et al. 1997). The selection marker kan(r) was amplified from the plasmid pET-28 (Novagen, USA) and cloned back to the plasmid in vitro using restriction enzymes XhoI and PstI and T4-DNA-ligase. The resulting plasmid was used as a PCR template for amplifying multiple cloning site (MCS) and kan(r) together. The selection marker cam(r) was amplified from the plasmid pAK400c. Transcription termination loop (t Ipp) was amplified from plasmid pAK400c. Double digestions were carried out for the PCR products with restriction enzymes and ligated in pairs. The ligation reactions were amplified by PCR with corresponding primers, digested again, and two of the pairs were ligated and amplified by PCR again. The two- and four-gene component sets were ligated and the whole gene cassette construct was amplified by PCR, the final product being ∼2000 bp long.

[0144] Purification of the PCR products was carried out in every step using PCR purification kit (Fermentas) or gel extraction kit (Fermentas). PCR products were run on 1-2 % agarose (Sigma-Aldrich) gel supplied with SYBRsafe (Invitrogen, USA) and visualized with Safelmager (Invitrogen). The right construct was verified by sequencing.

[0145] For over-expression of a diacylglycerol acyltransferase, a codon-optimized synthetic gene (raSVa) with amino acid sequence analogous to sco0958 from Streptomyces coelicolor with appropriate restriction sites (NdeI, XhoI) was ordered from GenScript (USA). The codons were optimized based on the codon usage table of ADP1 preferring the triplets that are most abundant in the protein coding sequences of ADP1. The sequence was modified not to include any internal transcription termination loops or ribosome binding sites (RBS). The sequence data is presented in the Sequence listing as SEQ ID NO: 29. The synthetic gene was cloned into the gene cassette scaffold using restriction sites NdeI and XhoI.

[0146] By changing the ADP1 flanking regions in the cassette, the specific knock-out target site in the genome can be re-defined. By using different selection markers with variable flanking regions, mutants with multiple gene deletions can be constructed (Example: the strain Qm with deleted genes ACIAD3381, ACIAD3382, ACIAD3383, ACIAD3309). The gene cassette is integrated to a specific locus in ADP1 genome by homologous recombination

[0147] The gene cassettes were transformed into A. baylyi B2 and ADP1 by natural transformation as described above. The transformants were selected on LA plates supplemented with appropriate antibiotic and the presence of the gene cassette was confirmed with PCR and further by sequencing.

Cultivations for characterization of lipid producing single gene knock-out-mutants



[0148] For determining the growth properties of the single gene knock-out mutants, the obtained strains were cultivated in 100 ml MA/9 medium supplemented with 0.2 % casein amino acids and 1 % glucose, at 37 °C and 300 rpm for 24 hours. The optical density (OD) was measured and the cells were collected and centrifuged at 5000 g for 1 hour. Thereafter, the cells were freeze dried in order to determine the cell dry weight gravimetrically.

[0149] For lipid analyses, the ADP1 strains (wild type (wt), ACIAD2837, ACIAD2844, ACIAD2880, ACIAD2291, ACIAD3316, SM100, ACIAD3381, ACIAD3309, ACIAD1134, and ACIAD2837) were cultivated in 100 ml MA/9 medium supplemented with 1 % glucose, 0.2 % cas.aminoacids and 30 µg/ml kanamycin at 30 °C and 300 rpm for 24 hours. The cells were collected in two 45 ml samples, centrifuged at 5000 g for one hour, freeze dried and stored at -20 °C. The biomass was used for determination of the cell dry weight, fatty acid profile by gas chromatography (GC) analyses, and gravimetric analyses of total lipids.

Lipid analyses


Lipid extraction



[0150] The cells were centrifuged and dried after cultivation. The lipids were extracted using chloroform-methanol-PBS extraction method. For 45-50 ml of original culture 5 ml chloroform, 10 ml methanol and 4 ml PBS buffer (ratio 1:2:0.8) was used. The volumes were scaled up when needed. The cell suspension was mixed well and stored in a shaker (150-200 rpm) for two hours. Another 5 ml of chloroform and 5 ml of PBS buffer (1:1) was added and the sample tube was mixed again and stored overnight in a refrigerator at 4 °C. The lower (chloroform) phase was collected to a tared glass vial and evaporated under nitrogen. The extraction was repeated by adding 10 ml of chloroform to the original tube, and after mixing incubated for another 40 hours. Finally, the phase separation was completed by centrifugation at 3000 rpm for 20 minutes. The chloroform phase was transferred to the glass vial with the first extract and purged under nitrogen. The amount of total lipids was determined gravimetrically.

GC run



[0151] Analysis of the fatty acid composition was carried out with gas chromatograph (GC) based on a standard procedure (ISO15304) from lipids extracted from Acinetobacter biomass. In the me thod, the fatty acids in lipids were first transesterified to form fatty acid methyl esters (FAME). prior to analysis with gas chromatograph.

[0152] The main fatty acids in Acinetobacter baylyi ADP1 oil included C16:0, C16:1, C18:0 and C18:1 and C12:0, while the minor constituents included C13:1 and C14:0 fatty acids. The results of qualitative lipid analyses of ADP1 knock-out strains demonstrate the potential of ADP1 for bioenergy application; the main constituents of the fatty acid composition, C16 and C18, are known to be desirable raw materials for biodiesel or renewable diesel.

Example 2: Improvement of storage lipid production in a function of time



[0153] Genetic engineering of strains was done as in example 1. The strains B2, ADP1 wt, ACIAD3383, ACIAD3381 were cultivated in 50 ml MA/9 medium supplemented with 0.2 % cas.amino acids and 5 % glucose. The cultivation was carried out at 37 °C and 300 rpm for 8 hours for each strain. Biomass of 2 ml samples was collected by centrifugation at 20000 g for 5 minutes and stored at -20 °C.

TLC analyses



[0154] For thin layer chromatography (TLC), lipid extraction was carried out in small-scale for 1.5-5 ml cultivation to quantify the amount of specific lipid components: the cells were centrifuged at 15000 rpm and the supernatant was discarded. Methanol (500 µl) was added on the cell pellets and tubes were shaken for one hour. Chloroform (250 µl) was added and tubes were shaken gently for additional hour. The tubes were centrifuged at 20000 g for 5 min. Additional 250 µl of chloroform and 250 µl of PBS were added to the tubes and the tubes were slowly swirlen overnight. The next day, the tubes were centrifuged at 20000 g for 5 min and lower phase (chloroform) was collected and 10-40 µl of the sample was applied to the TLC plate. The composition of mobile phase was n-hexane, ether and acetic acid in the ratio 80:20:2, respectively. The plates used were 10x20 cm or 20x20 cm Silica Gel 60 F254 with 2.5x10 cm concentration zone (Merck, USA) and dyed with iodine for visualization. Olive oil and trioleolylglycerol (Sigma) were used as standards. The ImageJ-software was used for measuring the intensity of the lipid spots in order to quantify specific lipid components.

[0155] Based on the densitometric analysis, the relative differences in WE and TAG production between the strains were estimated and proportioned to the wild type value. According to densitometric calculations, the strain ACIAD3381 produced 78 fold the amount of wax esters compared to ADP1 wild type strain (see Figure 2) per the same cultivation time.

Example 3: Improvement of storage lipid production per cell



[0156] Genetic engineering of strains was done as in example 1. The strains B2, ADP1 wt, ACIAD3381, ACIAD3383, ACIAD2880, ACIAD3648, ACIAD2425, ACIAD2837, ACIAD3309, ACIAD2177, ACIAD1121 and ACIAD0235 were cultivated in 50 ml MA/9 supplemented with 5 % glucose and 0.2 % cas.amino acids at 37 °C and 300 rpm for 30 hours. Samples containing same amount of biomass were centrifuged at 20000 g for 5 minutes and stored at -20 °C.

[0157] The lipid extraction, TLC analyses and densitometric calculations were done as in example 2.

[0158] Based on the densitometric analysis, the relative differences in WE and TAG production between the strains were estimated and proportioned to the wild type value. It was calculated that for example ACIAD2177 produced 30 fold, ACIAD3309 produced 24 fold, ACIAD2837 produced 4 fold, ACIAD1121 produced 2 fold, ACIAD3648 produced 2 fold, and ACIAD3381 strain 17 fold the amount of wax esters compared to the wild type strain per cell weight. The ACIAD3383 produced TAG 1.5 fold compared to the wild type and ACIAD2425 1.3 fold compared to the wild type per cell weight (see Figure 3).

Example 4: Improvement of storage lipid production per cultivation volume



[0159] Genetic engineering of strains was done as in example 1. The strains B2, ADP1 wt, ACIAD3381, ACIAD3383, ACIAD2880, ACIAD3648, ACIAD2425, ACIAD2837, ACIAD3309, ACIAD2177, ACIAD1121 and ACIAD0235 were cultivated in 50 ml MA/9 supplemented with 5 % glucose and 0.2 % cas.amino acids at 37 °C and 300 rpm for 30 hours. Samples of 2 ml were collected and centrifuged at 20000 g for 5 minutes and stored at -20 °C.

[0160] The lipid extraction, TLC analyses and densitometric calculations were done as in example 2 in order to quantify the amounts of specific lipid components..

[0161] Based on the densitometric analysis; the relative differences in wax ester (WE) and TAG production between the strains were estimated and proportioned to the wild type value. It was calculated that for example ACIAD3381 produced 8 fold, ACIAD2837 produced 1.7 fold and ACIAD3309 about 20 fold the amount of wax esters compared to the wild type strain per cultivation volume (see Figure 4). The ACIAD3383 produced TAG 2 fold compared to the wild type and ACIAD2837 produced 1.7 fold compared to the wild type per cultivation volume.

Example 5: The production of specific lipid compound (TAG)



[0162] Genetic engineering of strains was done as in example 1. The strains ACIAD3381, ACIAD3383 and ACIAD3309 were cultivated in 50 ml MA/9 supplemented with 5 % glucose and 0.2 % cas.amino acids at 37 °C and 300 rpm for 30 hours. Samples of 2 ml were collected and centrifuged at 20000 g for 5 minutes and stored at -20 °C. The lipid extraction, TLC analyses and densitometric calculations were done as in example 2. Based on TLC analysis, the strain lacking the ACIAD3383 gene produces only TAGs as a storage lipid. The strains ACIAD3309 and ACIAD3381 produce TAGs and WEs (see Figure 5).

Example 6: Lipid production of a strain with four gene deletions



[0163] Genetic engineering of strains was done as in example 1. For the three single gene knock-out mutants (ACIAD3309, ACIAD3381, ACIAD3383) and the mutant Qm with four knock-outs (ACIAD3309, ACIAD3381, ACIAD3382, ACIAD3383, were cultivated in 100 ml medium / 250 ml Erlenmeyer flasks. In the phase I, the strains were cultivated for 24 h in MA/9 medium supplemented with 2% sodium gluconate and 0.5% glycerol at 30 °C and 300 rpm. For phase II, the cells were collected by centrifugation (30 min., 3000 rpm) and suspended to fresh medium with reduced nitrogen concentration (0.1 g/l NH4Cl). The cultivation was continued additional 24 h in same conditions.

[0164] After the cultivation the cells were collected by centrifugation (45 min., 3000 rpm) and freeze-dried in parallel samples (40 ml cultivation). The cell dry weight of the samples was determined gravimetrically.

[0165] A total of 40 ml of original culture containing freeze-dried cells was extracted with 5 ml of chloroform, 10 ml of methanol and 4 ml of PBS buffer (ratio 1:2:0,8 v/v/v). The cell suspension was mixed well and shaken for 2 h at 150-200 rpm. The mixture of 5 ml of chloroform and 5 ml of PBS buffer (1:1 v/v) was added, suspension was mixed well again and stored overnight in a refrigerator at +4°C. The suspension was centrifuged at 7000 rpm for 10 min. The lower (chloroform) phase was collected into a pre-weighted glass vial and evaporated under nitrogen. The extraction was repeated by adding 10 ml of chloroform to the upper water-methanol phase containing the cells and after mixing incubated for 40 hours at +4°C. Finally, the phase separation was completed by centrifugation at 7000 rpm for 20 min. The chloroform phase was transferred to the glass vial with the first extract and purged under nitrogen.

[0166] In order to determine the TAG content of the samples, preparative TLC analyses were carried out using 10x20 cm Silica Gel 60 F254 glass plates with 2,5x10 cm concentrating zone (Merck) and dyed with iodine for visualization. Mobile phase was n-hexane:diethyl ether:acetic acid 80:20:2. Tripalmitoyl-glycerol (Sigma) was used as a standard. After evaporation of iodine Silica Gel from desired TAG-zone was scraped by a metal spatula and transferred into a clean Pasteur pipet containing cotton wool. TAG were eluted from Silica Gel with chloroform (3 x 0,7 ml). Chloroform was purged under nitrogen. The amount of TAG was determined gravimetrically (Table 2).
Table 2.
 dry biomass (mg)TAG (mg)TAG/biomass
wild type 125 0.15 0.12 %
Qm 90 0.6 0.67 %
3383 106.5 0.5 0.47 %
3309 128.5 0.65 0.51 %


[0167] The change in phenotype resulted from the knock-outs can be seen for the strain Qm: wax ester production has been blocked (see Figure 6). Thus it can be concluded that the strain Qm produces most TAG among the strains that do not produce wax esters.

Example 7: Over-expression of aftA



[0168] The natural capability of Acinetobacter strains to produce storage lipids, such as TAG and WE, can be further improved by over-expressing the key enzyme WS and/or DGAT, or a gene coding function equivalent. The gene encoding WS and/or DGAT is naturally present in the Acinetobacter genome or can be obtained from other native sources or is synthetically constructed. The gene is amplified with PCR and cloned to a suitable gene cassette for over-expression. The construction of a gene cassette can be done as described in example 1. The suitable gene cassette contains flanking regions for targeted knock-out, selection marker, promoter for aftA expression and a transcription termination loop. The over-expression promoter is preferentially inducible, and obtained from A. baylyi or other source. For example, the following promoters can be used for aftA over-expression: T5 promoter, the lactose promoter or the arabinose promoter. If needed, the gene cassette contains accessory genes to control promoter activity such as a gene encoding repressor for arabinose promoter. The gene cassette is transformed in Acinetobacter strain as described in example 1. The effect of aftA expression on storage lipid production is shown by lipid analyses.

References



[0169] 

Altschul, S. F., T.L. Madden, A. A. Schäffer, J. Zhang, Z. Zhang, W. Miller und D. J. Lipman 1997. Gapped BLAST and PSI-BLAST: a new generation of protein database search programs. Nucleic Acids Res. 25:3389-3402.

Arabolaza, A, Rodriguez, E, Altabe, S, Alvarez, H and Gramajo, H (2008) Multiple pathways for triacylglyserol biosynthesis in Streptomyces coelicolor. Appl Env Microb 79: 2573-2582.

Coen, D.M. 2001 The polymerase chain reaction, published in Ausubel F M, Brent R, Kingston R E, More D D, Seidman J G, Smith K. and Struhl K (eds.) Current protocols in molecular biology. John Wiley & Sons. Inc., Hoboken, USA).

Fixter, L.M., Nagi , M.N., McCormack, J.G. and Fewson, C.A., Structure, Distribution and Function of Wax Esters in Acinetobacter calcoaceticus Journal of General Microbiology 1986. 132: p. 3 147-3 157.

Gellissen, G., (ed). (2005). Production of recombinant proteins. Novel microbial and eukaryotic expression systems. Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co.. Weinheim, Germany.

Kalscheuer, R. and Steinbüchel, A., A novel bifunctional wax ester synthase/acyl-CoA:diacylglycerol acyltransferase mediates wax ester and triacylglycerol biosynthesis in Acinetobacter calcoaceticus ADP1. J Biol Chem, 2003. 278(10): p. 8075-82.

Krehenbrink, M., Oppermann-Sanio, F.B. and Steinbüchel, A., Evaluation of non-cyanobacterial genome sequences for occurrence of genes encoding proteins homologous to cyanophycin synthetase and cloning of an active cyanophycin synthetase from Acinetobacter sp. strain DSM 587. Arch Microbiol, 2002. 177(5): p. 371-80.

Metzgar, D., Bacher, J.M., Pezo, V., Reader, J., Doring, V., Schimmel, P., Marliere, P. and de Crecy-Lagard, V., Acinetobacter sp. ADP1: an ideal model organism for genetic analysis and genome engineering. Nucleic Acids Res, 2004. 32(19): p. 5780-90.

Miller, L. Quantifying western blots without expensive commercial quantification software. 2007 [cited 2010 01/27]; Available from: htp://www.lukemiller.org/journal/2007/08/quantifying-western-blots-without.html.

Ratledge, C., Cohen, Z. 2008. Microbial and algal oils: Do they have a future for biodiesel or as commodity oils. Lipid Technology 20:155-160.

Rice, P., Longden, I. and Bleasby, A. (2000) EMBOSS: the European Molecular Biology Open Software Suite, Trends Genet, 16, 276-277.

Sambrook, J., Fritsch, E.F. and Maniatis, T., Molecular Cloning: a Laboratory Manual. 1990, Cold Spring Harbor, NY: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press

Sambrook and Russell (2001). Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual (3rd ed.). Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.

Santala, V. and Lamminmäki, U., Production of a biotinylated single-chain antibody fragment in the cytoplasm of Escherichia coli. J Immunol Methods, 2004. 284(1-2): p. 165-175.

Stöveken, T. and Steinbüchel, A., Bacterial acyltransferases as an alternative for lipase-catalyzed acylation for the production of oleochemicals and fuels. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl, 2008. 47(20): p. 3688-94.

Tauriainen, S., Karp, M., Chang, W. and Virta, M., Recombinant luminescent bacteria for measuring bioavailable arsenite and antimonite. Appl Environ Microbiol, 1997. 63(11): p. 4456-4461.


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Claims

1. A genetically modified Acinetobacter host for lipid production, which comprises that the Acinetobacter host has been genetically modified to be deficient of gene ACIAD 2177 having SEQ ID NO:4 or showing at least 70 % identity to said sequence,
wherein said host is capable of increased production of wax esters and/or total lipids compared to the parent host, and wherein the host has been further made deficient of one or more of

A) a gene encoding fatty acyl-CoA reductase having EC1.2.1.n2, a gene ACIAD 3383 having the sequence set forth in SEQ ID NO:1 or showing at least 70 % identity to said sequence, and/or

B) a gene encoding diacylglycerol kinase having EC:2.7.1.107, a gene ACIAD 2837 having the sequence set forth in SEQ ID NO:5 or a functional equivalent thereof showing at least 70 % identity to said sequence, a gene encoding succinate dehydrogenase having EC:1.3.5.1, a gene ACIAD 2880 having SEQ ID NO:6 or showing at least 70 % identity to said sequence; a gene encoding glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase having EC 1.1.5.3, a gene ACIAD 2844 having SEQ ID NO:7 or showing at least 70 % identity to said sequence; a gene encoding cytochrome o ubiquinol oxidase subunit II having EC:1.10.3.-, a gene ACIAD 2425 having SEQ ID NO:8 or showing at least 70 % identity to said sequence; a gene encoding cytochrome o ubiquinol oxidase subunit I having EC:1.10.3.-, a gene ACIAD 2426 having SEQ ID NO:9 or showing at least 70 % identity to said sequence; a gene encoding cytochrome d terminal oxidase polypeptide subunit II having EC1.10.3.-, a gene ACIAD 2291 having SEQ ID NO:10 or showing at least 70 % identity to said sequence; a gene encoding pyruvate dehydrogenase having EC:1.2.2.2, a gene ACIAD 3381 having SEQ ID NO:3 or showing at least 70 % identity to said sequence; a gene encoding carboxylesterase having EC:3.1.1.1, a gene ACIAD 3648 having SEQ ID NO:11 or showing at least 70 % identity to said sequence; a gene encoding esterase, gene ACIAD 1134 having SEQ ID NO:12 or showing at least 70 % identity to said sequence; a gene encoding lipase having EC:3.1.1.3, a gene ACIAD 3309 having SEQ ID NO:2 or showing at least 70 % identity to said sequence, a gene ACIAD 1121 having SEQ ID NO:13 or showing at least 70 % identity to said sequence; or a gene encoding acyl-CoA synthetase having EC:6.2.1.3, a gene ACIAD 0235 having SEQ ID NO:14 or showing at least 70 % identity to said sequence.


 
2. The host according to claim 1, wherein the host has been genetically modified to express one or more genes encoding the enzymes of lipid biosynthesis pathway.
 
3. The host according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the host has been genetically modified to express a gene encoding diacylglycerol synthase enzyme having EC 2.3.1.20 or to express a gene encoding WS having EC 2.3.1.75 and/or DGAT having EC 2.3.1.20.
 
4. The host according to claim 2 or 3, wherein the host has been genetically modified to express a gene selected from the group of

(a) sco0958 having SEQ ID NO: 29 or aftA having SEQ ID NO: 31;

(b) a gene having at least 70% identity to SEQ ID NO: 29 (sco0958) in a Streptomyces species, said gene encoding diacylglycerol synthase enzyme having EC 2.3.1.20 or a gene having at least 70% identity to SEQ ID NO: 31 (aftA) in an Acinetobacter species, said gene encoding WS having EC 2.3.1.75 and/or DGAT having EC 2.3.1.20;

(c) a nucleotide sequence which hybridizes to SEQ ID NO: 29 under stringent hybridization conditions and encodes diacylglycerol synthase enzyme having EC 2.3.1.20 or a nucleotide sequence which hybridizes to SEQ ID NO: 31 under stringent hybridization conditions and encodes WS having EC 2.3.1.75 and/or DGAT having EC 2.3.1.20; and

(d) a nucleotide sequence encoding the amino acid sequence SEQ ID NO: 30, or a sequence having at least 60 % identity to said sequence and having EC 2.3.1.20 (diacylglycerol synthase enzyme activity), or a nucleotide sequence encoding the amino acid sequence SEQ ID NO:32 or a sequence having at least 60 % identity to said sequence and having EC 2.3.1.75 and/or EC 2.3.1.20 (WS and/or DGAT activity).


 
5. A method for genetically modifying an Acinetobacter host by making the host deficient of gene ACIAD 2177 having SEQ ID NO:4 or a gene showing at least 70 % identity to said gene and further deficient of one or more further genes as defined in any one of claims 1 to 4 and optionally by introducing into said host in an operational manner one or more genes of the lipid biosynthesis pathway.
 
6. A method according to claim 5, wherein the one or more genes introduced in said host is a gene having SEQ ID NO: 29 (sco0958) and/or SEQ ID NO: 31 (aftA), or wherein a gene having SEQ ID NO: 31 (aftA) is overexpressed in said host.
 
7. A process for producing lipids, which comprises

- cultivating Acinetobacter host according to any one of claims 1 to 4 or obtained by the method according to claim 5 or 6 under suitable cultivation conditions;

- allowing Acinetobacter host to produce and/or accumulate lipids;

- recovering the lipids.


 
8. A method for producing biofuel, which comprises

- cultivating Acinetobacter host genetically modified to be deficient of gene ACIAD 2177 having SEQ ID NO:4 or a gene showing at least 70% identity to said gene or obtained by the method according to claim 5 or 6 under suitable cultivation conditions;

- allowing Acinetobacter host to produce and/or accumulate lipids;

- recovering the lipids; and

- producing biofuel using the recovered lipids as a component or as starting material for biofuel production.


 


Ansprüche

1. Genetisch modifizierter Acinetobacter-Wirt für die Herstellung von Lipiden, umfassend, dass der Acinetobacter-Wirt genetisch modifiziert worden ist, um von dem ACIAD 2177-Gen, welches SEQ ID NO:4 aufweist oder zumindest 70 % Identität mit der Sequenz aufweist, defizient zu sein,
wobei der Wirt dazu im Stande ist, im Vergleich zu dem Vorgängerwirt eine erhöhte Produktion von Wachs-Estern und/oder gesamten Lipiden zu produzieren, und wobei der Wirt weiter defizient gemacht worden ist von einem oder mehreren aus folgenden

A) ein Gen, das Fett-Acyl-CoA-Reduktase mit EC1.2.1.n2 kodiert, ein ACIAD 3383-Gen, das die Sequenz nach SEQ ID NO:1 aufweist oder zumindest 70 % Identität mit der Sequenz aufweist, und/oder

B) ein Gen, das Diacylglycerol-Kinase mit EC:2.7.1.107 kodiert; ein ACIAD 2837-Gen, das die Sequenz nach SEQ ID NO:5 aufweist, oder eine funktionelle Äquivalente davon, die zumindest 70 % Identität mit der Sequenz aufweist; ein Gen, das Succinat-Dehydrogenase mit EC:1.3.5.1 kodiert, ein ACIAD-2880-Gen, das SEQ ID NO:6 aufweist oder zumindest 70 % Identität mit der Sequenz aufweist; ein Gen, das Glycerol-3-Phosphat-Dehydrogenase mit EC 1.1.5.3 kodiert, ein ACIAD 2844-Gen, das SEQ ID NO:7 aufweist oder zumindest 70 % Identität mit der Sequenz aufweist; ein Gen, das Cytochrom-O-Ubiquinol-Oxidase Untereinheit II mit EC:1.10.3.- kodiert, ein ACIAD 2425-Gen, das SEQ ID NO:8 aufweist oder zumindest 70 % Identität mit der Sequenz aufweist; ein Gen, das Cytochrom-O-Ubiquinol-Oxidase Untereinheit I mit EC:1.10.3.- kodiert, ein ACIAD 2426-Gen, das SEQ ID NO:9 aufweist oder zumindest 70 % Identität mit der Sequenz aufweist; ein Gen, das Cytochrom-D-Terminal-Oxidasepolypeptid Untereinheit II mit EC1.10.3.- kodiert, ein ACIAD 2291-Gen, das SEQ ID NO:10 aufweist oder zumindest 70 % Identität mit der Sequenz aufweist; ein Gen, das Pyruvatdehydrogenase mit EC:1.2.2.2 kodiert, ein ACIAD 3381-Gen, das SEQ ID NO:3 aufweist oder zumindest 70 % Identität mit der Sequenz aufweist; ein Gen, das Carboxylesterase mit EC:3.1.1.1 kodiert, ein ACIAD 3648-Gen, das SEQ ID NO:11 aufweist oder zumindest 70 % Identität mit der Sequenz aufweist; ein Gen, das Esterase kodiert, ein ACIAD 1134-Gen, das SEQ ID NO:12 aufweist oder zumindest 70 % Identität mit der Sequenz aufweist; ein Gen, das Lipase mit EC:3.1.1.3 kodiert, ein ACIAD 3309-Gen, das SEQ ID NO:2 aufweist oder zumindest 70 % Identität mit der Sequenz aufweist, ein ACIAD 1121-Gen, das SEQ ID NO:13 aufweist oder zumindest 70 % Identität mit der Sequenz aufweist; oder ein Gen, das Acyl-CoA-Synthetase mit EC:6.2.1.3 kodiert, ein ACIAD 0235-Gen, das SEQ ID NO:14 aufweist oder zumindest 70 % Identität mit der Sequenz aufweist.


 
2. Wirt nach Anspruch 1, wobei der Wirt genetisch modifiziert worden ist, um ein oder mehrere Gen(e) zu exprimieren, welche(s) die Enzyme des Lipidbiosynthesewegs kodiert bzw. kodieren.
 
3. Wirt nach Anspruch 1 oder 2, wobei der Wirt genetisch modifiziert worden ist, um ein Gen zu exprimieren, welches Diacylglycerolsynthaseenzym mit EC 2.3.1.20 kodiert, oder um ein Gen zu exprimieren, welches WS mit EC 2.3.1.75 und/oder DGAT mit EC 2.3.1.20 kodiert.
 
4. Wirt nach Anspruch 2 oder 3, wobei der Wirt genetisch modifiziert worden ist, um ein Gen zu exprimieren, welches aus den folgenden ausgewählt ist

(a) sco0958 mit SEQ ID NO: 29 oder aftA mit SEQ ID NO: 31;

(b) ein Gen, welches zumindest 70 % Identität mit SEQ ID NO: 29 (sco0958) in einer Gattung Streptomyces aufweist, welches Gen Diacylglycerolsynthaseenzym mit EC 2.3.1.20 kodiert, oder ein Gen, welches zumindest 70 % Identität mit SEQ ID NO: 31 (aftA) in einer Gattung Acinetobacter aufweist, welches Gen WS mit EC 2.3.1.75 und/oder DGAT mit EC 2.3.1.20 kodiert;

(c) eine Nukleotidsequenz, welche zu SEQ ID NO: 29 unter stringenten Hybridisierungsbedingungen hybridisiert und Diacylglycerolsynthaseenzym mit EC 2.3.1.20 kodiert, oder eine Nukleotidsequenz, welche zu SEQ ID NO: 31 unter stringenten Hybridisierungsbedingungen hybridisiert und WS mit EC 2.3.1.75 und/oder DGAT mit EC 2.3.1.20 kodiert; und

(d) eine Nukleotidsequenz, welche die Aminosäuresequenz SEQ ID NO: 30 kodiert, oder eine Sequenz, die zumindest 60 % Identität mit der Sequenz aufweist und EC 2.3.1.20 (Diacylglycerolsynthaseenzym-Aktivität) aufweist, oder eine Nukleotidsequenz, welche die Aminosäuresequenz SEQ ID NO:32 kodiert, oder eine Sequenz, welche zumindest 60 % Identität mit der Sequenz aufweist und EC 2.3.1.75 und/oder EC 2.3.1.20 (WS und/oder DGAT-Aktivität) aufweist.


 
5. Verfahren für das genetische Modifizieren eines Acinetobacter-Wirt dadurch, dass der Wirt von dem ACIAD 2177-Gen mit SEQ ID NO:4 oder von einem Gen, welches zumindest 70 % Identität mit dem Gen aufweist, defizient gemacht wird und von einem oder mehreren weiteren Gen(en) wie in einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 4 definiert weiter defizient gemacht wird, und wahlweise durch das Einführen in einer operativen Weise von einem oder mehreren Gen(en) des Lipidbiosynthesewegs in den Wirt.
 
6. Verfahren nach Anspruch 5, wobei das eine oder die mehreren in den Wirt eingeführte(n) Gen(e) ein Gen mit SEQ ID NO: 29 (sco0958) und/oder SEQ ID NO: 31 (aftA) ist, oder wobei ein Gen mit SEQ ID NO: 31 (aftA) in dem Wirt überexprimiert ist.
 
7. Verfahren zur Herstellung von Lipiden, welches umfasst

- Kultivieren von einem Acinetobacter-Wirt nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 4 oder erhältlich durch das Verfahren nach Anspruch 5 oder 6 unter geeigneten Kultivierungsbedingungen;

- Erlauben, dass der Acinetobacter-Wirt Lipide herstellen und/oder akkumulieren kann;

- Rückgewinnung der Lipide.


 
8. Verfahren zur Herstellung von Biokraftstoff, welches umfasst

- Kultivierung von einem Acinetobacter-Wirt, welcher genetisch modifiziert worden ist, um von dem ACIAD 2177-Gen mit SEQ ID NO:4 oder von einem Gen, welches zumindest 70 % Identität mit dem Gen aufweist oder durch das Verfahren nach Anspruch 5 oder 6 unter geeigneten Kultivierungsbedingungen erhältlich ist, defizient zu sein;

- Erlauben, dass der Acinetobacter-Wirt Lipide herstellen und/oder akkumulieren kann;

- Rückgewinnung der Lipide; und

- Herstellung von Biokraftstoff unter Verwendung der rückgewonnenen Lipide als eine Komponente oder als Ausgangsmaterial für die Herstellung von Biokraftstoff.


 


Revendications

1. Hôte Acinetobacter génétiquement modifié pour la production de lipide, qui comprend le fait que l'hôte Acinetobacter a été génétiquement modifié pour être dépourvu du gène ACIAD 2177 possédant la SEQ ID No. : 4 ou présentant au moins 70 % d'identité par rapport à ladite séquence,
où ledit hôte est capable de production accrue d'esters de cire et/ou de lipides totaux par comparaison avec l'hôte parent, et où l'hôte a été en outre rendu dépourvu d'un ou plusieurs parmi

A) un gène codant pour l'acyle gras-CoA réductase comportant EC1.2.1.n2, un gène ACIAD 3383 possédant la séquence présentée dans SEQ ID No. : 1 ou présentant au moins 70 % d'identité par rapport à ladite séquence, et/ou

B) un gène codant pour la diacylglycérol kinase comportant EC:2.7.1.107, un gène ACIAD 2837 possédant la séquence présentée dans la SEQ ID No. : 5 ou un équivalent fonctionnel de celle-ci présentant au moins 70 % d'identité par rapport à ladite séquence ; un gène codant pour la succinate déshydrogénase comportant EC:1.3.5.1, un gène ACIAD 2880 possédant la SEQ ID No. : 6 ou présentant au moins 70 % d'identité par rapport à ladite séquence ; un gène codant pour la glycérol-3-phosphate déshydrogénase comportant EC 1.1.5.3, un gène ACIAD 2844 possédant la SEQ ID No. : 7 ou présentant au moins 70 % d'identité par rapport à ladite séquence ; un gène codant pour la sous-unité II de la cytochrome o ubiquinol oxydase comportant EC:1.10.3.-, un gène ACIAD 2425 possédant la SEQ ID No. : 8 ou présentant au moins 70 % d'identité par rapport à ladite séquence ; un gène codant pour la sous-unité I de la cytochrome o ubiquinol oxydase comportant EC:1.10.3.-, un gène ACIAD 2426 possédant la SEQ ID No. : 9 ou présentant au moins 70 % d'identité par rapport à ladite séquence ; un gène codant pour la sous-unité II du polypeptide de la cytochrome d terminal oxydase comportant EC1.10.3.-, un gène ACIAD 2291 possédant la SEQ ID No. : 10 ou présentant au moins 70 % d'identité par rapport à ladite séquence ; un gène codant pour la pyruvate déshydrogénase comportant EC:1.2.2.2, un gène ACIAD 3381 possédant la SEQ ID No. : 3 ou présentant au moins 70 % d'identité par rapport à ladite séquence ; un gène codant pour une carboxylestérase comportant EC:3.1.1.1, un gène ACIAD 3648 possédant la SEQ ID No. : 11 ou présentant au moins 70 % d'identité par rapport à ladite séquence ; un gène codant pour une estérase, un gène ACIAD 1134 possédant la SEQ ID No. : 12 ou présentant au moins 70 % d'identité par rapport à ladite séquence ; un gène codant pour une lipase comportant EC:3.1.1.3, un gène ACIAD 3309 possédant la SEQ ID No. : 2 ou présentant au moins 70 % d'identité par rapport à ladite séquence, un gène ACIAD 1121 possédant la SEQ ID No. : 13 ou présentant au moins 70 % d'identité par rapport à ladite séquence ; ou un gène codant pour l'acyl-CoA synthétase comportant EC:6.2.1.3, un gène ACIAD 0235 possédant la SEQ ID No. : 14 ou présentant au moins 70 % d'identité par rapport à ladite séquence.


 
2. Hôte selon la revendication 1, où l'hôte a été génétiquement modifié pour exprimer un ou plusieurs gènes codant pour les enzymes de la voie de biosynthèse des lipides.
 
3. Hôte selon la revendication 1 ou 2, où l'hôte a été génétiquement modifié pour exprimer un gène codant pour l'enzyme diacylglycérol synthase comportant EC 2.3.1.20 ou pour exprimer un gène codant pour WS comportant EC 2.3.1.75 et/ou DGAT comportant EC 2.3.1.20.
 
4. Hôte selon la revendication 2 ou 3, où l'hôte a été génétiquement modifié pour exprimer un gène choisi parmi le groupe de

(a) sco0958 possédant la SEQ ID No. : 29 ou aftA possédant la SEQ ID No. : 31 ;

(b) un gène possédant au moins 70 % d'identité par rapport à la SEQ ID No. : 29 (sco0958) dans une espèce Streptomyces, ledit gène codant pour une enzyme diacylglycérol synthase comportant EC 2.3.1.20 ou un gène possédant au moins 70 % d'identité par rapport à la SEQ ID No. : 31 (aftA) dans une espèce Acinetobacter, ledit gène codant pour WS comportant EC 2.3.1.75 et/ou DGAT comportant EC 2.3.1.20 ;

(c) une séquence nucléotidique qui s'hybride à la SEQ ID No. : 29 dans des conditions d'hybridation stringentes et code pour l'enzyme diacylglycérol synthase comportant EC 2.3.1.20 ou une séquence de nucléotides qui s'hybride à la SEQ ID No. : 31 dans des conditions d'hybridation stringentes et code pour WS comportant EC 2.3.1.75 et/ou DGAT comportant EC 2.3.1.20 ; et

(d) une séquence de nucléotides codant pour la séquence d'acides aminés SEQ ID No. : 30, ou une séquence présentant au moins 60 % d'identité par rapport à ladite séquence et comportant EC 2.3.1.20 (activité de l'enzyme diacylglycérol synthase), ou une séquence de nucléotides codant pour la séquence d'acides aminés SEQ ID No. : 32 ou une séquence présentant au moins 60 % d'identité par rapport à ladite séquence et comportant EC 2.3.1.75 et/ou EC 2.3.1.20 (activité de WS et/ou DGAT).


 
5. Procédé pour modifier génétiquement un hôte Acinetobacter en rendant l'hôte déficient en gène ACIAD 2177 possédant la SEQ ID No. : 4 ou d'un gène présentant au moins 70 % d'identité par rapport audit gène et dépourvu en outre d'un ou de plusieurs autres gènes tels que définis dans l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 4 et éventuellement en introduisant dans ledit hôte d'une manière fonctionnelle un ou plusieurs gènes de la voie de biosynthèse des lipides.
 
6. Procédé selon la revendication 5, dans lequel le ou les gènes introduits dans ledit hôte sont un gène possédant la SEQ ID No. : 29 (sco0958) et/ou la SEQ ID No. : 31 (aftA), ou dans lequel un gène possédant la SEQ ID No. : 31 (aftA) est surexprimé dans ledit hôte.
 
7. Procédé de production de lipides, qui comprend les étapes suivantes

- cultiver un hôte Acinetobacter selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 4 ou obtenu par le procédé selon la revendication 5 ou 6 dans des conditions de culture appropriées ;

- laisser l'hôte Acinetobacter produire et/ou accumuler des lipides ;

- récupérer les lipides.


 
8. Procédé de production de biocarburant, qui comprend les étapes suivantes

- cultiver un hôte Acinetobacter génétiquement modifié pour être dépourvu du gène ACIAD 2177 possédant la SEQ ID No. : 4 ou un gène présentant au moins 70 % d'identité par rapport audit gène ou obtenu par le procédé selon la revendication 5 ou 6 dans des conditions de culture appropriées ;

- laisser l'hôte Acinetobacter produire et/ou accumuler des lipides ;

- récupérer les lipides ; et

- produire du biocarburant en utilisant les lipides récupérés en tant que composant ou en tant que matériau de départ pour la production de biocarburant.


 




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REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



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Patent documents cited in the description




Non-patent literature cited in the description