Research ArticleGENETICS

Complete enzyme set for chlorophyll biosynthesis in Escherichia coli

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science Advances  26 Jan 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 1, eaaq1407
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaq1407

You are currently viewing the abstract.

View Full Text

Abstract

Chlorophylls are essential cofactors for photosynthesis, which sustains global food chains and oxygen production. Billions of tons of chlorophylls are synthesized annually, yet full understanding of chlorophyll biosynthesis has been hindered by the lack of characterization of the Mg–protoporphyrin IX monomethyl ester oxidative cyclase step, which confers the distinctive green color of these pigments. We demonstrate cyclase activity using heterologously expressed enzyme. Next, we assemble a genetic module that encodes the complete chlorophyll biosynthetic pathway and show that it functions in Escherichia coli. Expression of 12 genes converts endogenous protoporphyrin IX into chlorophyll a, turning E. coli cells green. Our results delineate a minimum set of enzymes required to make chlorophyll and establish a platform for engineering photosynthesis in a heterotrophic model organism.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

View Full Text