Pyrethrins are natural insecticides, which accumulate to high concentrations in pyrethrum (Chrysanthemum cinerariaefolium) flowers. Synthetic pyrethroids are more stable, more efficacious and cheaper, but contemporary requirements for safe and environmentally friendly pesticides encourage a return to the use of natural pyrethrins, and this would be favoured by development of an efficient route to their production by microbial fermentation. The biosynthesis of pyrethrins involves ester linkage between an acid moiety (chrysanthemoyl or pyrethroyl, synthesised via the mevalonic acid pathway from glucose), and an alcohol (pyrethrolone). Pyrethrolone is generated from 3-oxo-2-(2'-pentenyl)-cyclopentane-1-octanoic acid, which originates from α-linolenic acid via the jasmonic acid biosynthetic cascade. The first four genes in this cascade, encoding lipoxygenase 2, allene-oxide synthase, allene-oxide cyclase 2 and 12-oxophytodienoic acid reductase 3, were amplified from an Arabidopsis thaliana cDNA library, cloned in a purpose-built fungal multigene expression vector and expressed in Aspergillus oryzae. HPLC-MS analysis of the transgenic fungus homogenate gave good evidence for the presence of 3-oxo-2-(2'-pentenyl)-cyclopentane-1-octanoic acid.
- 3-Oxo-2-(20 -pentenyl)-cyclopentane-1- octanoic acid
- Aspergillus oryzae
- Heterologous gene expression