[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The production of aromatic amino acids using fermentation processes with recombinant microorganisms can be an advantageous approach to reach their global demands. In addition, a large array of compounds with alimentary and pharmaceutical applications can potentially be synthesized from intermediates of this metabolic pathway. However, contrary to other amino acids and primary metabolites, the artificial channelling of building blocks from central metabolism towards the aromatic amino acid pathway is complicated to achieve in an efficient manner. The length and complex regulation of this pathway have progressively called for the employment of more integral approaches, promoting the merge of complementary tools and techniques in order to surpass metabolic and regulatory bottlenecks. As a result, relevant insights on the subject have been obtained during the last years, especially with genetically modified strains of Escherichia coli. By combining metabolic engineering strategies with developments in synthetic biology, systems biology and bioprocess engineering, notable advances were achieved regarding the generation, characterization and optimization of E. coli strains for the overproduction of aromatic amino acids, some of their precursors and related compounds. In this paper we review and compare recent successful reports dealing with the modification of metabolic traits to attain these objectives.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dovepress 35 R e v i e w open access to scientific and medical research Open Access Full Text Article http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/RRMC.S46560 Abstract: Aromatic metabolism comprises the shikimic acid (SA) and the aminoshikimic acid (ASA) pathways. The SA pathway is the common route for the biosynthesis of aromatic amino acids and other metabolites in bacteria, higher plants, fungi, and Apicomplexa parasites, but this pathway is absent in mammals. A variant of the SA pathway known as the ASA pathway branches off from the normal pathway in some bacteria, and its final product, 3-amino-5-hydroxybenzoic acid, is the precursor for many aminoglycoside antibiotics such as kanamycin, neomycin, butirosin, and spectinomycin. The SA pathway includes the key intermediate SA, which is the precursor for the chemical synthesis of the drug oseltamivir phosphate, known commercially as Tamiflu ® , an efficient inhibitor of the neuraminidase enzyme of the seasonal influenza viruses types A and B, avian influenza virus H5N1, and human influenza virus H1N1. Meanwhile, the intermediate of the ASA pathway, ASA, is an attractive candidate for use as the core scaffold for the synthesis of combinatorial libraries and is a potential alternative to SA as a precursor for oseltamivir phosphate synthesis. In this review, we discuss the relevance of the key intermedi-ates SA and ASA as scaffold molecules for the synthesis of diverse chemicals. We highlight the current and potential pharmaceutical applications of these molecules and discuss the main strategies for the production of these aromatic compounds from natural sources and the appli-cation of metabolic engineering strategies in diverse bacterial strains for production through biotechnological processes.
Research and Reports in Medicinal Chemistry. 07/2014; 4:35-46.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Efficient production of shikimic acid (SA) in Escherichia coli has been achieved by modifying key genes of the central carbon metabolism and SA pathway, resulting in overproducing strains grown in batch- or fed-batch-fermentor cultures using a complex broth including glucose and yeast extract (YE). In this study, we performed a GTA to identify those genes significantly upregulated in an engineered E. coli strain, PB12.SA22, in mid EXP (5 h), early STA (STA1, 9 h), and late SAT (STA2, 44 h) phases, grown in complex fermentation broth in batch-fermentor cultures.
Growth of E. coli PB12.SA22 in complex fermentation broth for SA production resulted in an EXP growth during the first 9 h of cultivation depending of supernatant available aromatic amino acids provided by YE because, when tryptophan was totally consumed, cells entered into a second, low-growth phase (even in the presence of glucose) until 26 h of cultivation. At this point, glucose was completely consumed but SA production continued until the end of the fermentation (50 h) achieving the highest accumulation (7.63 g/L of SA). GTA between EXP/STA1, EXP/STA2 and STA1/STA2 comparisons showed no significant differences in the regulation of genes encoding enzymes of central carbon metabolism as in SA pathway, but those genes encoding enzymes involved in sugar, amino acid, nucleotide/nucleoside, iron and sulfur transport; amino acid catabolism and biosynthesis; nucleotide/nucleoside salvage; acid stress response and modification of IM were upregulated between comparisons.
GTA during SA production in batch-fermentor cultures of strain PB12.SA22 grown in complex fermentation broth during the EXP, STA1 and STA2 phases was studied. Significantly, upregulated genes during the EXP and STA1 phases were associated with transport, amino acid catabolism, biosynthesis, and nucleotide/nucleoside salvage. In STA2, upregulation of genes encoding transporters and enzymes involved in the synthesis and catabolism of Arg suggests that this amino acid could have a key role in the fuelling of carbon toward SA synthesis, whereas upregulation of genes involved in pH stress response, such as membrane modifications, suggests a possible response to environmental conditions imposed on the cell at the end of the fermentation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The biosynthesis of poly-3-hydroxybutyrate (P3HB), a biodegradable bio-plastic, requires acetyl-CoA as precursor and NADPH as cofactor. Escherichia coli has been used as a heterologous production model for P3HB, but metabolic pathway analysis shows a deficiency in maintaining high levels of NADPH and that the acetyl-CoA is mainly converted to acetic acid by native pathways. In this work the pool of NADPH was increased 1.7-fold in E. coli MG1655 through plasmid overexpression of the NADP(+)-dependent glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase gene (gapN) from Streptococcus mutans (pTrcgapN). Additionally, by deleting the main acetate production pathway (ackA-pta), the acetic acid production was abolished, thus increasing the acetyl-CoA pool. The P3HB biosynthetic pathway was heterologously expressed in strain MG1655 Δack-pta/pTrcgapN, using an IPTG inducible vector with the P3HB operon from Azotobacter vinelandii (pPHB Av ). Cultures were performed in controlled fermentors using mineral medium with glucose as the carbon source. Accordingly, the mass yield of P3HB on glucose increased to 73 % of the maximum theoretical and was 30 % higher when compared to the progenitor strain (MG1655/pPHB Av ). In comparison with the wild type strain expressing pPHB Av , the specific accumulation of PHB (gPHB/gDCW) in MG1655 Δack-pta/pTrcgapN/pPHB Av increased twofold, indicating that as the availability of NADPH is raised and the production of acetate abolished, a P3HB intracellular accumulation of up to 84 % of the E. coli dry weight is attainable.
Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 02/2014; · 2.07 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: RESUMEN El ácido shikímico (SA), uno de los intermediarios de la ruta común de biosíntesis de compuestos aromáticos o vía del ácido shikímico, presente en bacterias y plantas principalmente, es utilizado como precursor para la síntesis química del antiviral oseltamivir-fosfato. Dicho antiviral es utilizado para el tratamiento de la influenza común y en los casos de infección por los virus H5N1, H3N2 y A/H1N1 ABSTRACT Shikimic acid (SA) is an intermediate of the shikimic acid pathway, which is the common route for the biosynthesis of aromatic compounds mainly in bacteria and plants. SA is used as a precursor for the chemical synthesis of the antiviral oseltamivir phosphate. This drug is used for treatment of seasonal flu and cases of H5N1, H3N2 and H1N1 virus infection. Given the potential scenario of a pandemic influenza, diverse research groups have implemented strategies of
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Natural aromatic polymers, mainly melanins, have potential and current applications in the cosmetic, pharmaceutical and chemical industries. The biotechnological production of this class of compounds is based on tyrosinase-dependent conversion of L-tyrosine and other aromatic substrates into melanins. The purpose of this work was to apply metabolic engineering for generating Escherichia coli strains with the capacity to synthesize an aromatic polymer from a simple carbon source.
The strategy was based on the expression in E. coli of the MutmelA gene from Rhizobium etli, encoding an improved mutant tyrosinase. To direct the carbon flow from central metabolism into the common aromatic and the L-tyrosine biosynthetic pathways, feedback inhibition resistant versions of key enzymes were expressed in strains lacking the sugar phosphotransferase system and TyrR repressor. The expressed tyrosinase consumed intracellular L-tyrosine, thus causing growth impairment in the engineered strains. To avoid this issue, a two phase production process was devised, where tyrosinase activity was controlled by the delayed addition of the cofactor Cu. Following this procedure, 3.22 g/L of melanin were produced in 120 h with glucose as carbon source. Analysis of produced melanin by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy revealed similar characteristics to a pure eumelanin standard.
This is the first report of a process for producing melanin from a simple carbon source at grams level, having the potential for reducing production cost when compared to technologies employing L-tyrosine as raw material.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During the last two decades many efforts have been directed towards obtaining efficient microbial processes for the production of shikimic acid (SA); however, feeding high amounts of substrate to increase the titer of this compound has invariably rendered low conversion yields, leaving room for improvement of the producing strains. In this work we report an alternative platform to overproduce SA in a laboratory-evolved Escherichia coli strain, based on plasmid-driven constitutive expression of six genes selected from the pentose phosphate and aromatic amino acid pathways, artificially arranged as an operon. Production strains also carried inactivated genes coding for phosphotransferase system components (ptsHIcrr), shikimate kinases I and II (aroK and aroL), pyruvate kinase I (pykF) and the lactose operon repressor (lacI).
The strong and constitutive expression of the constructed operon permitted SA production from the beginning of the cultures, as evidenced in 1L batch-mode fermentors starting with high concentrations of glucose and yeast extract. Inactivation of the pykF gene improved SA production under the evaluated conditions by increasing the titer, yield and productivity of this metabolite compared to the isogenic pykF+ strain. The best producing strain accumulated up to 43g/L of SA in 30h and relatively low concentrations of acetate and aromatic byproducts were detected, with SA accounting for 80% of the produced aromatic compounds. These results were consistent with high expression levels of the glycolytic pathway and synthetic operon genes from the beginning of fermentations, as revealed by transcriptomic analysis. Despite the consumption of 100g/L of glucose, the yields on glucose of SA and of total aromatic compounds were about 50% and 60% of the theoretical maximum, respectively. The obtained yields and specific production and consumption rates proved to be constant with three different substrate concentrations.
The developed production system allowed continuous SA accumulation until glucose exhaustion and eliminated the requirement for culture inducers. The obtained SA titers and yields represent the highest reported values for a high-substrate batch process, postulating the strategy described in this report as an interesting alternative to the traditionally employed fed-batch processes for SA production.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Traditional strategies for production of thermo-induced recombinant protein in E. coli consist of a two-phase culture, with an initial growth stage at low temperature (commonly 30°C) followed by a production stage where temperature is increased stepwise (commonly up to 42°C). A disadvantage of such strategies is that growth is inhibited upon temperature increase, limiting the duration of the production stage and consequently limiting recombinant protein production. In this work, a novel oscillatory thermo-induction strategy, consisting on temperature fluctuations between 37 and 42°C or 30 and 42°C, was tested for improving recombinant protein production. In addition, the induction schemes were combined with one of three different nutrient feeding strategies: two exponential and one linear. Recombinant human preproinsulin (HPPI), produced under control of the λPL-cI857 system in the E. coli BL21 strain, was used as the model protein. Compared to the conventional induction scheme at constant temperature (42°C), longer productive times were attained under oscillatory induction, which resulted in a 1.3- to 1.7-fold increase in maximum HPPI concentration. Temperature oscillations led to a 2.3- to 4.0-fold increase in biomass accumulation and a decrease of 48 to 62% in the concentration of organic acids, compared to conventional induction. Under constant induction, growth ceased upon temperature increase and the maximum concentration of HPPI was 3.9g/L, regardless of the post-induction feeding strategy used. In comparison, the combination of temperature oscillations and a high nutrient-feeding rate allowed sustained growth after induction and reaching up to 5.8g/L of HPPI.
Journal of Biotechnology 06/2013; · 3.18 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The bacterium Escherichia coli can be grown employing various carbohydrates as sole carbon and energy source. Among them, glucose affords the highest growth rate. This sugar is nowadays widely employed as raw material in industrial fermentations. When E. coli grows in a medium containing non-limiting concentrations of glucose, a metabolic imbalance occurs whose main consequence is acetate secretion. The production of this toxic organic acid reduces strain productivity and viability. Solutions to this problem include reducing glucose concentration by substrate feeding strategies or the generation of mutant strains with impaired glucose import capacity. In this work, a collection of E. coli strains with inactive genes encoding proteins involved in glucose transport where generated to determine the effects of reduced glucose import capacity on growth rate, biomass yield, acetate and production of an experimental plasmid DNA vaccine (pHN). RESULTS: A group of 15 isogenic derivatives of E. coli W3110 were generated with single and multiple deletions of genes encoding glucose, mannose, beta-glucoside, maltose and N-acetylglucosamine components of the phosphoenolpyruvate:sugar phosphotransferase system (PTS), as well as the galactose symporter and the Mgl galactose/glucose ABC transporter. These strains were characterized by growing them in mineral salts medium supplemented with 2.5 g/L glucose. Maximum specific rates of glucose consumption (qs) spanning from 1.33 to 0.32 g/g h were displayed by the group of mutants and W3110, which resulted in specific growth rates ranging from 0.65-0.18 h-1. Acetate accumulation was reduced or abolished in cultures with all mutant strains. W3110 and five selected mutant derivatives were transformed with pHN. A 3.2-fold increase in pHN yield on biomass was observed in cultures of a mutant strain with deletion of genes encoding the glucose and mannose PTS components, as well as Mgl. CONCLUSIONS: The group of E. coli mutants generated in this study displayed a reduction or elimination of overflow metabolism and a linear correlation between qs and the maximum specific growth rate as well as the acetate production rate. By comparing DNA vaccine production parameters among some of these mutants, it was possible to identify a near-optimal glucose import rate value for this particular application. The strains employed in this study should be a useful resource for studying the effects of different predefined qs values on production capacity for various biotechnological products.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: In Escherichia coli phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP) is a key central metabolism intermediate that participates in glucose transport, as precursor in several biosynthetic pathways and it is involved in allosteric regulation of glycolytic enzymes. In this work we generated W3110 derivative strains that lack the main PEP consumers PEP:sugar phosphotransferase system (PTS-) and pyruvate kinase isozymes PykA and PykF (PTS- pykA- and PTS- pykF -). To characterize the effects of these modifications on cell physiology, carbon flux distribution and aromatics production capacity were determined. RESULTS: When compared to reference strain W3110, strain VH33 (PTS-) displayed lower specific rates for growth, glucose consumption and acetate production as well as a higher biomass yield from glucose. These phenotypic effects were even more pronounced by the additional inactivation of PykA or PykF. Carbon flux analysis revealed that PTS inactivation causes a redirection of metabolic flux towards biomass formation. A cycle involving PEP carboxylase (Ppc) and PEP carboxykinase (Pck) was detected in all strains. In strains W3110, VH33 (PTS-) and VH35 (PTS-, pykF-), the net flux in this cycle was inversely correlated with the specific rate of glucose consumption and inactivation of Pck in these strains caused a reduction in growth rate. In the PTS- background, inactivation of PykA caused a reduction in Ppc and Pck cycling as well as a reduction in flux to TCA, whereas inactivation of PykF caused an increase in anaplerotic flux from PEP to OAA and an increased flux to TCA. The wild-type and mutant strains were modified to overproduce L-phenylalanine. In resting cells experiments, compared to reference strain, a 10, 4 and 7-fold higher aromatics yields from glucose were observed as consequence of PTS, PTS PykA and PTS PykF inactivation. CONCLUSIONS: Metabolic flux analysis performed on strains lacking the main activities generating pyruvate from PEP revealed the high degree of flexibility to perturbations of the central metabolic network in E. coli. The observed responses to reduced glucose uptake and PEP to pyruvate rate of conversion caused by PTS, PykA and PykF inactivation included flux rerouting in several central metabolism nodes towards anabolic biosynthetic reactions, thus compensating for carbon limitation in these mutant strains. The detected cycle involving Ppc and Pck was found to be required for maintaining the specific growth and glucose consumption rates in all studied strains. Strains VH33 (PTS-), VH34 (PTS- pykA-) and VH35 (PTS- pykF-) have useful properties for biotechnological processes, such as increased PEP availability and high biomass yields from glucose, making them useful for the production of aromatic compounds or recombinant proteins.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recombinant Escherichia coli strains for the production of valuable products are usually generated by transformation with plasmid expression vectors. However, in spite of their usefulness, common problems associated with plasmid use include segregrational and structural instability as well as undesired copy-number effects. A viable alternative to plasmid use is chromosomal gene integration. With the purpose of facilitating the process of stable strain generation, a novel chromosomal integration vector was developed and tested. We describe the construction and use of novel expression vector pLoxGentrc that contains the strong trc promoter (P(trc)), a multiple cloning site, the T1 and T2 rrnB terminator sequences, the lacI(q) gene and the aacC1 gene conferring gentamicin resistance flanked by two loxP sites. As a demonstration of utility, melanin-producing strains of E. coli were generated employing this vector. Melanin is a polymer synthesized by the enzyme tyrosinase using l-tyrosine as substrate. The melA gene encoding a tyrosinase from Rhizobium etli was ligated to pLoxGentrc to generate pLoxGentrcmelA. This plasmid was transformed into E. coli W3110 to generate a melanin-producing strain. A region from this plasmid including P(trc)melA, T1 and T2 rrnB and the aacC1 gene was amplified by PCR employing primers with 45 b regions of homology to the lacZ gene. The PCR product was electroporated into strain W3110 that expressed the λ-Red enzymes. From this experiment, strain W3110P(tr)(c)melA, was obtained having the melA gene inserted in the lacZ locus. Fermentor cultures with strain W3110/pLoxGentrcmelA grown in the presence and absence of gentamicin as well as W3110P(tr)(c)melA without antibiotic revealed that the latter displays high genetic stability as well as the highest melanin titer. Vector pLoxGentrc should be useful during strain generation processes, enabling direct comparison of plasmid and chromosome-based production systems.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP) node is an important carbon distribution point in the central metabolic networks; therefore, its modification is a common strategy employed for developing microbial production strains. In this study, mutants of Bacillus subtilis 168 were generated with deletions of pykA (which encodes pyruvate kinase), ptsG (which encodes the glucose-specific IICBA(Glc) component) or the ptsGHI operon [which encodes IICBA(Glc), HPr protein and enzyme I from the PEP:sugar phosphotransferase system (PTS)]. These modifications caused a reduction in the initial rate of [(14)C]-glucose import, corresponding to 10.99, 2.83 and 0.50% of that found in B. subtilis 168 for strains with inactive pykA, ptsG or ptsGHI genes, respectively. Characterization of derivative strains lacking 3-dehydroquinate synthase activity showed that inactivation of pykA leads to an 8-fold increase in carbon flow to the common aromatic pathway. Quantitative real-time PCR analyses of 76 genes from several functional classes revealed a carbon starvation transcriptional pattern that includes a partial gluconeogenic response and overexpression of genes encoding non-PTS glucose importers in the strains lacking functional pykA, ptsG or ptsGHI genes. A transcriptional response consistent with pyruvate limitation was also detected, which includes upregulation of genes encoding malic enzymes that generate pyruvate from malate.
Journal of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology 07/2012; 22(3):177-97. · 1.95 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this work, Escherichia coli MG1655 was engineered to produce ethanol and evolved in a laboratory process to obtain an acetate tolerant strain called MS04 (E. coli MG1655: ΔpflB, ΔadhE, ΔfrdA, ΔxylFGH, ΔldhA, PpflB::pdc ( Zm ) -adhB ( Zm ), evolved). The growth and ethanol production kinetics of strain MS04 were determined in mineral medium, mainly under non-aerated conditions, supplemented with glucose in the presence of different concentrations of sodium acetate at pH 7.0 and at different values of acid pH and a constant concentration of sodium acetate (2 g/l). Results revealed an increase in the specific growth rate, cell mass formation, and ethanol volumetric productivity at moderate concentrations of sodium acetate (2-10 g/l), in addition to a high tolerance to acetate because it was able to grow and produce a high yield of ethanol in the presence of up to 40 g/l of sodium acetate. Genomic analysis of the ΔpflB evolved strain identified that a chromosomal deletion of 27.3 kb generates the improved growth and acetate tolerance in MG1655 ΔpflB derivative strains. This deletion comprises genes related to the respiration of nitrate, repair of alkylated DNA and synthesis of the ompC gene coding for porin C, cytochromes C, thiamine, and colonic acid. Strain MS04 is advantageous for the production of ethanol from hemicellulosic hydrolysates that contain acetate.
Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 06/2012; · 3.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In Escherichia coli, the phosphoenolpyruvate-carbohydrate phosphotransferase system (PTS) is responsible for the transport and phosphorylation of sugars, such as glucose. PTS activity has a crucial role in the global signaling system that controls the preferential consumption of glucose over other carbon sources. When the cell is exposed to carbohydrate mixtures, the PTS prevents the expression of catabolic genes and activity of non-PTS sugars transport systems by carbon catabolite repression (CCR). This process defines some metabolic and physiological constraints that must be considered during the development of production strains. In this review, we summarize the importance of the PTS in controlling and influencing both PTS and non-PTS sugar transport processes as well as the mechanisms of transcriptional control involved in the expression of catabolic genes of non-PTS sugars in E. coli. We discuss three main approaches applied efficiently to avoid these constraints resulting in obtaining PTS(-) glc(+) mutants useful for production purposes: (1) adaptive selection in chemostat culture system of PTS(-) mutants, resulting in the selection of strains that recovered the ability to grow in glucose, along with the simultaneous consumption of two carbon sources and reduced acetate production; (2) replacement in PTS(-) strains of the native GalP promoter by strong promoters or the substitution of this permease by recombinant glucose transport system; and (3) enhancement of Crp (crp+) in mgsA, pgi, and ptsG mutants, resulting in derivative strains that abolished CCR, allowing the simultaneous consumption of mixtures of sugars with low acetate production.
Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 05/2012; 94(6):1483-94. · 3.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glycerol has enhanced its biotechnological importance since it is a byproduct of biodiesel synthesis. A study of Escherichia coli physiology during growth on glycerol was performed combining transcriptional-proteomic analysis as well as kinetic and stoichiometric evaluations in the strain JM101 and certain derivatives with important inactivated genes.
Transcriptional and proteomic analysis of metabolic central genes of strain JM101 growing on glycerol, revealed important changes not only in the synthesis of MglB, LamB and MalE proteins, but also in the overexpression of carbon scavenging genes: lamB, malE, mglB, mglC, galP and glk and some members of the RpoS regulon (pfkA, pfkB, fbaA, fbaB, pgi, poxB, acs, actP and acnA). Inactivation of rpoS had an important effect on stoichiometric parameters and growth adaptation on glycerol. The observed overexpression of poxB, pta, acs genes, glyoxylate shunt genes (aceA, aceB, glcB and glcC) and actP, suggested a possible carbon flux deviation into the PoxB, Acs and glyoxylate shunt. In this scenario acetate synthesized from pyruvate with PoxB was apparently reutilized via Acs and the glyoxylate shunt enzymes. In agreement, no acetate was detected when growing on glycerol, this strain was also capable of glycerol and acetate coutilization when growing in mineral media and derivatives carrying inactivated poxB or pckA genes, accumulated acetate. Tryptophanase A (TnaA) was synthesized at high levels and indole was produced by this enzyme, in strain JM101 growing on glycerol. Additionally, in the isogenic derivative with the inactivated tnaA gene, no indole was detected and acetate and lactate were accumulated. A high efficiency aromatic compounds production capability was detected in JM101 carrying pJLBaroG(fbr)tktA, when growing on glycerol, as compared to glucose.
The overexpression of several carbon scavenging, acetate metabolism genes and the absence of acetate accumulation occurred in JM101 cultures growing on glycerol. To explain these results it is proposed that in addition to the glycolytic metabolism, a gluconeogenic carbon recycling process that involves acetate is occurring simultaneously in this strain when growing on glycerol. Carbon flux from glycerol can be efficiently redirected in JM101 strain into the aromatic pathway using appropriate tools.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Escherichia coli strains lacking the phosphoenolpyruvate: carbohydrate phosphotransferase
system (PTS), which is the major bacterial component involved in glucose transport and its
phosphorylation, accumulate high amounts of phosphoenolpyruvate that can be diverted to
the synthesis of commercially relevant products. However, these strains grow slowly in
glucose as sole carbon source due to its inefficient transport and metabolism. Strain PB12,
with 400 % increased growth rate, was isolated after a 120 hours adaptive laboratory
evolution process for the selection of faster growing derivatives in glucose. Analysis of the
genetic changes that occurred in the PB12 strain that lacks PTS will allow a better
understanding of the basis of its growth adaptation and, therefore, in the design of improved
metabolic engineering strategies for enhancing carbon diversion into the aromatic pathways.
Whole genome analyses using two different sequencing methodologies: the Roche
NimbleGen Inc. comparative genome sequencing technique, and high throughput sequencing
with Illumina Inc. GAIIx, allowed the identification of the genetic changes that occurred in
the PB12 strain. Both methods detected 23 non-synonymous and 22 synonymous point
mutations. Several non-synonymous mutations mapped in regulatory genes (arcB, barA,
rpoD, rna) and in other putative regulatory loci (yjjU, rssA and ypdA). In addition, a
chromosomal deletion of 10,328 bp was detected that removed 12 genes, among them, the
rppH, mutH and galR genes. Characterization of some of these mutated and deleted genes
with their functions and possible functions, are presented.
The deletion of the contiguous rppH, mutH and galR genes that occurred simultaneously, is
apparently the main reason for the faster growth of the evolved PB12 strain. In support of this
interpretation is the fact that inactivation of the rppH gene in the parental PB11 strain
substantially increased its growth rate, very likely by increasing glycolytic mRNA genes
stability. Furthermore, galR inactivation allowed glucose transport by GalP into the cell. The
deletion of mutH in an already stressed strain that lacks PTS is apparently responsible for the
very high mutation rate observed.