Toward developing a yeast cell factory for the production of prenylated flavonoids

Mark Levisson, Carla Araya-Cloutier, Wouter J.C. De Bruijn, Menno Van Der Heide, José Manuel Salvador López, Jean Marc Daran, Jean Paul Vincken, Jules Beekwilder*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Prenylated flavonoids possess a wide variety of biological activities, including estrogenic, antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anticancer activities. Hence, they have potential applications in food products, medicines, or supplements with health-promoting activities. However, the low abundance of prenylated flavonoids in nature is limiting their exploitation. Therefore, we investigated the prospect of producing prenylated flavonoids in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. As a proof of concept, we focused on the production of the potent phytoestrogen 8-prenylnaringenin. Introduction of the flavonoid prenyltransferase SfFPT from Sophora flavescens in naringenin-producing yeast strains resulted in de novo production of 8-prenylnaringenin. We generated several strains with increased production of the intermediate precursor naringenin, which finally resulted in a production of 0.12 mg L -1 (0.35 μM) 8-prenylnaringenin under shake flask conditions. A number of bottlenecks in prenylated flavonoid production were identified and are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13478-13486
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number49
Publication statusPublished - 24 Apr 2019


  • 8-prenylnaringenin
  • de novo
  • metabolic engineering
  • naringenin
  • prenylated flavonoids
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae


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