The use of microorganisms in the synthesis of nanoparticles emerges as an eco-friendly and exciting approach, for production of nanoparticles due to its low energy requirement, environmental compatibility, reduced costs of manufacture, scalability, and nanoparticle stabilization compared with the chemical synthesis.
The production of gold nanoparticles by the thermophilic bacterium Geobacillus sp. strain ID17 is reported in this study. Cells exposed to Au3+ turned from colourless into an intense purple colour. This change of colour indicates the accumulation of intracellular gold nanoparticles. Elemental analysis of particles composition was verified using TEM and EDX analysis. The intracellular localization and particles size were verified by TEM showing two different types of particles of predominant quasi-hexagonal shape with size ranging from 5–50 nm. The mayority of them were between 10‒20 nm in size. FT-IR was utilized to characterize the chemical surface of gold nanoparticles. This assay supports the idea of a protein type of compound on the surface of biosynthesized gold nanoparticles. Reductase activity involved in the synthesis of gold nanoparticles has been previously reported to be present in others microorganisms. This reduction using NADH as substrate was tested in ID17. Crude extracts of the microorganism could catalyze the NADH-dependent Au3+ reduction.
Our results strongly suggest that the biosynthesis of gold nanoparticles by ID17 is mediated by enzymes and NADH as a cofactor for this biological transformation.
Geobacillus; Nanoparticles; Gold; Deception island; Antarctica
Fab antibody fragments in E. coli are usually directed to the oxidizing periplasmic space for correct folding. From periplasm Fab fragments may further leak into extracellular medium. Information on the cultivation parameters affecting this leakage is scarce, and the unpredictable nature of Fab leakage is problematic regarding consistent product recovery. To elucidate the effects of cultivation conditions, we investigated Fab expression and accumulation into either periplasm or medium in E. coli K-12 and E. coli BL21 when grown in different types of media and under different aeration conditions.
Small-scale Fab expression demonstrated significant differences in yield and ratio of periplasmic to extracellular Fab between different culture media and host strains. Expression in a medium with fed-batch-like glucose feeding provided highest total and extracellular yields in both strains. Unexpectedly, cultivation in baffled shake flasks at 150 rpm shaking speed resulted in higher yield and accumulation of Fabs into culture medium as compared to cultivation at 250 rpm. In the fed-batch medium, extracellular fraction in E. coli K-12 increased from 2-17% of total Fab at 250 rpm up to 75% at 150 rpm. This was partly due to increased lysis, but also leakage from intact cells increased at the lower shaking speed. Total Fab yield in E. coli BL21 in glycerol-based autoinduction medium was 5 to 9-fold higher at the lower shaking speed, and the extracellular fraction increased from ≤ 10% to 20-90%. The effect of aeration on Fab localization was reproduced in multiwell plate by variation of culture volume.
Yield and leakage of Fab fragments are dependent on expression strain, culture medium, aeration rate, and the combination of these parameters. Maximum productivity in fed-batch-like conditions and in autoinduction medium is achieved under sufficiently oxygen-limited conditions, and lower aeration also promotes increased Fab accumulation into extracellular medium. These findings have practical implications for screening applications and small-scale Fab production, and highlight the importance of maintaining consistent aeration conditions during scale-up to avoid changes in product yield and localization. On the other hand, the dependency of Fab leakage on cultivation conditions provides a practical way to manipulate Fab localization.
Fab fragment; Periplasmic expression; Oxygen transfer; Fed-batch; Autoinduction
A large range of genetic tools has been developed for the optimal design and regulation of complex metabolic pathways in bacteria. However, fewer tools exist in yeast that can precisely tune the expression of individual enzymes in novel metabolic pathways suitable for industrial-scale production of non-natural compounds. Tuning expression levels is critical for reducing the metabolic burden of over-expressed proteins, the accumulation of toxic intermediates, and for redirecting metabolic flux from native pathways involving essential enzymes without negatively affecting the viability of the host. We have developed a yeast membrane protein hyper-expression system with critical advantages over conventional, plasmid-based, expression systems. However, expression levels are sometimes so high that they adversely affect protein targeting/folding or the growth and/or phenotype of the host. Here we describe the use of small synthetic mRNA control modules that allowed us to predictably tune protein expression levels to any desired level. Down-regulation of expression was achieved by engineering small GC-rich mRNA stem-loops into the 5′ UTR that inhibited translation initiation of the yeast ribosomal 43S preinitiation complex (PIC).
Exploiting the fact that the yeast 43S PIC has great difficulty scanning through GC-rich mRNA stem-loops, we created yeast strains containing 17 different RNA stem-loop modules in the 5′ UTR that expressed varying amounts of the fungal multidrug efflux pump reporter Cdr1p from Candida albicans. Increasing the length of mRNA stem-loops (that contained only GC-pairs) near the AUG start-codon led to a surprisingly large decrease in Cdr1p expression; ~2.7-fold for every additional GC-pair added to the stem, while the mRNA levels remained largely unaffected. An mRNA stem-loop of seven GC-pairs (∆G = −15.8 kcal/mol) reduced Cdr1p expression levels by >99%, and even the smallest possible stem-loop of only three GC-pairs (∆G = −4.4 kcal/mol) inhibited Cdr1p expression by ~50%.
We have developed a simple cloning strategy to fine-tune protein expression levels in yeast that has many potential applications in metabolic engineering and the optimization of protein expression in yeast. This study also highlights the importance of considering the use of multiple cloning-sites carefully to preclude unwanted effects on gene expression.
mRNA stem-loops; Post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression; Inhibition of translation initiation; Yeast 43S preinitiation complex; Regulation of translation; Negative interactions of multiple cloning-sites
The genome of the important industrial host Bacillus subtilis does not encode the glyoxylate shunt, which is necessary to utilize overflow metabolites, like acetate or acetoin, as carbon source. In this study, the operon encoding the isocitrate lyase (aceB) and malate synthase (aceA) from Bacillus licheniformis was transferred into the chromosome of B. subtilis. The resulting strain was examined in respect to growth characteristics and qualities as an expression host.
Our results show that the modified B. subtilis strain is able to grow on the C2 compound acetate. A combined transcript, protein and metabolite analysis indicated a functional expression of the native glyoxylate shunt of B. lichenifomis in B. subtilis. This metabolically engineered strain revealed better growth behavior and an improved activity of an acetoin-controlled expression system.
The glyoxylate shunt of B. licheniformis can be functionally transferred to B. subtilis. This novel strain offers improved properties for industrial applications, such as growth on additional carbon sources and a greater robustness towards excess glucose feeding.
Bacillus subtilis; Metabolic engineering; Glyoxylate cycle; Expression system; Fed-batch; Acetate; Glycolic acid
The human gut is one of the most complex ecosystems, composed of 1013-1014 microorganisms which play an important role in human health. In addition, some food products contain live bacteria which transit through our gastrointestinal tract and could exert beneficial effects on our health (known as probiotic effect). Among the numerous proposed health benefits attributed to commensal and probiotic bacteria, their capacity to interact with the host immune system is now well demonstrated. Currently, the use of recombinant lactic acid bacteria to deliver compounds of health interest is gaining importance as an extension of the probiotic concept. This review summarizes some of the recent findings and perspectives in the study of the crosstalk of both commensal and probiotic bacteria with the human host as well as the latest studies in recombinant commensal and probiotic bacteria. Our aim is to highlight the potential roles of recombinant bacteria in this ecosystem.
Bacteria-host crosstalk; Dysbiosis; Genetically modified microorganisms
Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) has been extensively studied for decades because of its health benefits including cancer prevention, anti-atherogenic and anti-obesity effects, and modulation of the immune system. We previously described the production of trans-10, cis-12 CLA in Yarrowia lipolytica by expressing the gene coding for linoleic acid isomerase from Propionibacterium acnes (pai). However the stable strain produced CLA at about 0.08% of dry cell weight (DCW), a level of production which was not high enough for practical applications. The goal of the present study was to enhance production of CLA by genetic engineering of Y. lipolytica strains.
We have now co-expressed the delta 12-desaturase gene (FADS12, d12) from Mortierella alpina together with the codon-optimized linoleic acid isomerase (opai) gene in Y. lipolytica, expressed under the control of promoter hp16d modified by fusing 12 copies of UAS1B to the original promoter hp4d. A multi-copy integration plasmid was used to further enhance the expression of both genes. Using glucose as the sole carbon source, the genetically-modified Y. lipolytica produced trans-10, cis-12-CLA at a level of up to 10% of total fatty acids and 0.4% of DCW. Furthermore, when the recombinant yeast was grown with soybean oil, trans-10, cis-12-CLA now accumulated at a level of up to 44% of total fatty acids, which represented 30% of DCW after 38.5 h of cultivation. In addition, trans-10, cis-12-CLA was also detected in the growth medium up to 0.9 g/l.
We have successfully produced trans-10, cis-12-CLA with a titre of 4 g/l of culture (3.1 g/l in cells and 0.9 g/l in culture medium). Our results demonstrate the potential use of Y. lipolytica as a promising microbial cell factory for trans-10, cis-12-CLA production.
Conjugated linoleic acid; Fermentation; Multi-copy integration; opai-d12 co-expression; Promoter hp16d; Soybean oil; Yarrowia lipolytica
Bacillus subtilis (B. subtilis) has become widely accepted as a model organism for studies on Gram-positive bacteria. A deeper insight into the physiology of this prokaryote requires advanced studies of its metabolism. To provide a reliable basis for metabolome investigations, a validated experimental protocol is needed since the quality of the analytical sample and the final data are strongly affected by the sampling steps. To ensure that the sample analyzed precisely reflects the biological condition of interest, outside biases have to be avoided during sample preparation.
Procedures for sampling, quenching, extraction of metabolites, cell disruption, as well as metabolite leakage were tested and optimized for B. subtilis. In particular the energy status of the bacterial cell, characterized by the adenylate energy charge, was used to evaluate sampling accuracy. Moreover, the results of the present study demonstrate that the cultivation medium can affect the efficiency of the developed sampling procedure.
The final workflow presented here allows for the reproducible and reliable generation of physiological data. The method with the highest qualitative and quantitative metabolite yield was chosen, and when used together with complementary bioanalytical methods (i.e., GC-MS, LC-MS and 1H-NMR) provides a solid basis to gather information on the metabolome of B. subtilis.
Bacillus subtilis; Metabolomics; Sampling; Energy charge; Quenching; Filtration
Numerous studies have examined the direct fermentation of cellulosic materials by cellulase-expressing yeast; however, ethanol productivity in these systems has not yet reached an industrial level. Certain microorganisms, such as the cellulolytic fungus Trichoderma reesei, produce expansin-like proteins, which have a cellulose-loosening effect that may increase the breakdown of cellulose. Here, to improve the direct conversion of cellulose to ethanol, yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae co-displaying cellulase and expansin-like protein on the cell surface were constructed and examined for direct ethanol fermentation performance.
The cellulase and expansin-like protein co-expressing strain showed 246 mU/g-wet cell of phosphoric acid swollen cellulose (PASC) degradation activity, which corresponded to 2.9-fold higher activity than that of a cellulase-expressing strain. This result clearly demonstrated that yeast cell-surface expressed cellulase and expansin-like protein act synergistically to breakdown cellulose. In fermentation experiments examining direct ethanol production from PASC, the cellulase and expansin-like protein co-expressing strain produced 3.4 g/L ethanol after 96 h of fermentation, a concentration that was 1.4-fold higher than that achieved by the cellulase-expressing strain (2.5 g/L).
The PASC degradation and fermentation ability of an engineered yeast strain was markedly improved by co-expressing cellulase and expansin-like protein on the cell surface. To our knowledge, this is the first report to demonstrate the synergetic effect of co-expressing cellulase and expansin-like protein on a yeast cell surface, which may be a promising strategy for constructing direct ethanol fermenting yeast from cellulose.
Bioethanol; Cellulase; Cellulose; Cell-surface display; Expansin-like protein; Swollenin; Yeast
The lac operon provides cells with the ability to switch from glucose to lactose metabolism precisely when necessary. This metabolic switch is mediated by the lac repressor (LacI), which in the absence of lactose binds to the operator DNA sequence to inhibit transcription. Allosteric rearrangements triggered by binding of the lactose isomer allolactose to the core domain of the repressor impede DNA binding and lift repression. In Nature, the ability to detect and respond to environmental conditions comes at the cost of the encoded enzymes being constitutively expressed at low levels. The readily-switched regulation provided by LacI has resulted in its widespread use for protein overexpression, and its applications in molecular biology represent early examples of synthetic biology. However, the leakiness of LacI that is essential for the natural function of the lac operon leads to an increased energetic burden, and potentially toxicity, in heterologous protein production.
Analysis of the features that confer promiscuity to the inducer-binding site of LacI identified tryptophan 220 as a target for saturation mutagenesis. We found that phenylalanine (similarly to tryptophan) affords a functional repressor that is still responsive to IPTG. Characterisation of the W220F mutant, LacIWF, by measuring the time dependence of GFP production at different IPTG concentrations and at various incubation temperatures showed a 10-fold reduction in leakiness and no decrease in GFP production. Cells harbouring a cytotoxic protein under regulatory control of LacIWF showed no decrease in viability in the early phases of cell growth. Changes in responsiveness to IPTG observed in vivo are supported by the thermal shift assay behaviour of purified LacIWF with IPTG and operator DNA.
In LacI, long-range communications are responsible for the transmission of the signal from the inducer binding site to the DNA binding domain and our results are consistent with the involvement of position 220 in modulating these. The mutation of this single tryptophan residue to phenylalanine generated an enhanced repressor with a 10-fold decrease in leakiness. By minimising the energetic burden and cytotoxicity caused by leakiness, LacIWF constitutes a useful switch for protein overproduction and synthetic biology.
Lactose repressor; Protein engineering; Mutagenesis; Differential scanning fluorimetry; Protein production; Synthetic biology; Gene regulation; LacI
Previously, we distinguished the Escherichia coli type II cytoplasmic membrane translocation pathways of Tat, Yid, and Sec for unfolded and folded soluble target proteins. The translocation of folded protein to the periplasm for soluble expression via the Tat pathway was controlled by an N-terminal hydrophilic leader sequence. In this study, we investigated the effect of the hydrophilic C-terminal end and its nucleotide sequence on total and soluble protein expression.
The native hydrophilic C-terminal end of GFP was obtained by deleting the C-terminal peptide LeuGlu-6×His, derived from pET22b(+). The corresponding clones induced total and soluble GFP expression that was either slightly increased or dramatically reduced, apparently through reconstruction of the nucleotide sequence around the stop codon in the 3′ region. In the expression-induced clones, the hydrophilic C-terminus showed increased Tat pathway specificity for soluble expression. However, in the expression-reduced clone, after analyzing the role of the 5′ poly(A) coding sequence with a substituted synonymous codon, we proved that the longer 5′ poly(A) coding sequence interacted with the reconstructed 3′ region nucleotide sequence to create a new mRNA tertiary structure between the 5′ and 3′ regions, which resulted in reduced total GFP expression. Further, to recover the reduced expression by changing the 3′ nucleotide sequence, after replacing selected C-terminal 5′ codons and the stop codon in the ORF with synonymous codons, total GFP expression in most of the clones was recovered to the undeleted control level. The insertion of trinucleotides after the stop codon in the 3′-UTR recovered or reduced total GFP expression. RT-PCR revealed that the level of total protein expression was controlled by changes in translational or transcriptional regulation, which were induced or reduced by the substitution or insertion of 3′ region nucleotides.
We found that the hydrophilic C-terminal end of GFP increased Tat pathway specificity and that the 3′ nucleotide sequence played an important role in total protein expression through translational and transcriptional regulation. These findings may be useful for efficiently producing recombinant proteins as well as for potentially controlling the expression level of specific genes in the body for therapeutic purposes.
Hydrophilic C-terminal end; Longer 5′ poly(A) coding sequence; mRNA tertiary structure; Synonymous codon substitution in the 3′ region; Positional recovery effect; Inserted trinucleotides in the 3′-UTR; Translational and transcriptional regulation; Transcriptional termination
Ribosome assembly cofactor RimP is one of the auxiliary proteins required for maturation of the 30S subunit in Escherichia coli. Although RimP in protein synthesis is important, its role in secondary metabolites biosynthesis has not been reported so far. Considering the close relationship between protein synthesis and the production of secondary metabolites, the function of ribosome assembly cofactor RimP on antibiotics production was studied in Streptomyces coelicolor and Streptomyces venezuelae.
In this study, the rimP homologue rimP-SC was identified and cloned from Streptomyces coelicolor. Disruption of rimP-SC led to enhanced production of actinorhodin and calcium-dependent antibiotics by promoting the transcription of actII-ORF4 and cdaR. Further experiments demonstrated that MetK was one of the reasons for the increment of antibiotics production. In addition, rimP-SC disruption mutant could be used as a host to produce more peptidyl nucleoside antibiotics (polyoxin or nikkomycin) than the wild-type strain. Likewise, disruption of rimP-SV of Streptomyces venezuelae also significantly stimulated jadomycin production, suggesting that enhanced antibiotics production might be widespread in many other Streptomyces species.
These results established an important relationship between ribosome assembly cofactor and secondary metabolites biosynthesis and provided an approach for yield improvement of secondary metabolites in Streptomyces.
rimP-SC; Streptomyces coelicolor; Actinorhodin; Calcium-dependent antibiotics
Adaptive laboratory evolution is a frequent method in biological studies to gain insights into the basic mechanisms of molecular evolution and adaptive changes that accumulate in microbial populations during long term selection under specified growth conditions. Although regularly performed for more than 25 years, the advent of transcript and cheap next-generation sequencing technologies has resulted in many recent studies, which successfully applied this technique in order to engineer microbial cells for biotechnological applications. Adaptive laboratory evolution has some major benefits as compared with classical genetic engineering but also some inherent limitations. However, recent studies show how some of the limitations may be overcome in order to successfully incorporate adaptive laboratory evolution in microbial cell factory design. Over the last two decades important insights into nutrient and stress metabolism of relevant model species were acquired, whereas some other aspects such as niche-specific differences of non-conventional cell factories are not completely understood. Altogether the current status and its future perspectives highlight the importance and potential of adaptive laboratory evolution as approach in biotechnological engineering.
Laboratory evolution; Cell factory engineering; Microbial growth; Microbial stress; Biotechnology
The soil bacterium Corynebacterium glutamicum, best known for its glutamate producing ability, is suitable as a producer of a variety of bioproducts. Glutamate is the precursor of the amino acid proline. Proline biosynthesis typically involves three enzymes and a spontaneous cyclisation reaction. Alternatively, proline can be synthesised from ornithine, an intermediate of arginine biosynthesis. The direct conversion of ornithine to proline is catalysed by ornithine cyclodeaminase. An ornithine overproducing platform strain with deletions of argR and argF (ORN1) has been employed for production of derived compounds such as putrescine. By heterologous expression of ocd this platform strain can be engineered further for proline production.
Plasmid-based expression of ocd encoding the putative ornithine cyclodeaminase of C. glutamicum did not result in detectable proline accumulation in the culture medium. However, plasmid-based expression of ocd from Pseudomonas putida resulted in proline production with yields up to 0.31 ± 0.01 g proline/g glucose. Overexpression of the gene encoding a feedback-alleviated N-acetylglutamate kinase further increased proline production to 0.36 ± 0.01 g/g. In addition, feedback-alleviation of N-acetylglutamate kinase entailed growth-coupled production of proline and reduced the accumulation of by-products in the culture medium.
The product spectrum of the platform strain C. glutamicum ORN1 was expanded to include the amino acid L-proline. Upon further development of the ornithine overproducing platform strain, industrial production of amino acids of the glutamate family and derived bioproducts such as diamines might become within reach.
Amino Acid; Proline; Corynebacterium Glutamicum; Metabolic Engineering; OCD; ORN1; Ornithine; Ornithine Cyclodeaminase; Platform Strain; Diamine; Putrescine; N-acetylglutamate Kinase
Oats contain hydroxycinnamoyl anthranilates, also named avenanthramides (Avn), which have beneficial health properties because of their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antiproliferative effects. The microbial production of hydroxycinnamoyl anthranilates is an eco-friendly alternative to chemical synthesis or purification from plant sources. We recently demonstrated in yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) that coexpression of 4-coumarate: CoA ligase (4CL) from Arabidopsis thaliana and hydroxycinnamoyl/benzoyl-CoA/anthranilate N-hydroxycinnamoyl/benzoyltransferase (HCBT) from Dianthus caryophyllusenabled the biological production of several cinnamoyl anthranilates upon feeding with anthranilate and various cinnamates. Using engineering strategies to overproduce anthranilate and hydroxycinnamates, we describe here an entire pathway for the microbial synthesis of two Avns from glucose in Escherichia coli.
We first showed that coexpression of HCBT and Nt4CL1 from tobacco in the E. coli anthranilate-accumulating strain W3110 trpD9923 allowed the production of Avn D [N-(4′-hydroxycinnamoyl)-anthranilic acid] and Avn F [N-(3′,4′-dihydroxycinnamoyl)-anthranilic acid] upon feeding with p-coumarate and caffeate, respectively. Moreover, additional expression in this strain of a tyrosine ammonia-lyase from Rhodotorula glutinis (RgTAL) led to the conversion of endogenous tyrosine into p-coumarate and resulted in the production of Avn D from glucose. Second, a 135-fold improvement in Avn D titer was achieved by boosting tyrosine production using two plasmids that express the eleven genes necessary for tyrosine synthesis from erythrose 4-phosphate and phosphoenolpyruvate. Finally, expression of either the p-coumarate 3-hydroxylase Sam5 from Saccharothrix espanensis or the hydroxylase complex HpaBC from E. coli resulted in the endogenous production of caffeate and biosynthesis of Avn F.
We established a biosynthetic pathway for the microbial production of valuable hydroxycinnamoyl anthranilates from an inexpensive carbon source. The proposed pathway will serve as a platform for further engineering toward economical and sustainable bioproduction of these pharmaceuticals and other related aromatic compounds.
Avenanthramide; Tranilast; BAHD; Antioxidant; Anti-inflammatory; Tyrosine; Anthranilate; Hydroxycinnamate; Biological synthesis; Escherichia coli
The optimization of metabolic pathways is critical for efficient and economical production of biofuels and specialty chemicals. One such significant pathway is the cellobiose utilization pathway, identified as a promising route in biomass utilization. Here we describe the optimization of cellobiose consumption and ethanol productivity by simultaneously engineering both proteins of the pathway, the β-glucosidase (gh1-1) and the cellodextrin transporter (cdt-1), in an example of pathway engineering through directed evolution.
The improved pathway was assessed based on the strain specific growth rate on cellobiose, with the final mutant exhibiting a 47% increase over the wild-type pathway. Metabolite analysis of the engineered pathway identified a 49% increase in cellobiose consumption (1.78 to 2.65 g cellobiose/(L · h)) and a 64% increase in ethanol productivity (0.611 to 1.00 g ethanol/(L · h)).
By simultaneously engineering multiple proteins in the pathway, cellobiose utilization in S. cerevisiae was improved. This optimization can be generally applied to other metabolic pathways, provided a selection/screening method is available for the desired phenotype. The improved in vivo cellobiose utilization demonstrated here could help to decrease the in vitro enzyme load in biomass pretreatment, ultimately contributing to a reduction in the high cost of biofuel production.
Cellobiose utilization; β-glucosidase; Cellodextrin transporter; Directed evolution; Protein engineering; Pathway engineering; Pathway optimization; Pathway libraries
Metabolic engineering projects often require integration of multiple genes in order to control the desired phenotype. However, this often requires iterative rounds of engineering because many current insertion approaches are limited by the size of the DNA that can be transferred onto the chromosome. Consequently, construction of highly engineered strains is very time-consuming. A lack of well-characterised insertion loci is also problematic.
A series of knock-in/knock-out (KIKO) vectors was constructed for integration of large DNA sequences onto the E. coli chromosome at well-defined loci. The KIKO plasmids target three nonessential genes/operons as insertion sites: arsB (an arsenite transporter); lacZ (β-galactosidase); and rbsA-rbsR (a ribose metabolism operon). Two homologous ‘arms’ target each insertion locus; insertion is mediated by λ Red recombinase through these arms. Between the arms is a multiple cloning site for the introduction of exogenous sequences and an antibiotic resistance marker (either chloramphenicol or kanamycin) for selection of positive recombinants. The resistance marker can subsequently be removed by flippase-mediated recombination. The insertion cassette is flanked by hairpin loops to isolate it from the effects of external transcription at the integration locus. To characterize each target locus, a xylanase reporter gene (xynA) was integrated onto the chromosomes of E. coli strains W and K-12 using the KIKO vectors. Expression levels varied between loci, with the arsB locus consistently showing the highest level of expression. To demonstrate the simultaneous use of all three loci in one strain, xynA, green fluorescent protein (gfp) and a sucrose catabolic operon (cscAKB) were introduced into lacZ, arsB and rbsAR respectively, and shown to be functional.
The KIKO plasmids are a useful tool for efficient integration of large DNA fragments (including multiple genes and pathways) into E. coli. Chromosomal insertion provides stable expression without the need for continuous antibiotic selection. Three non-essential loci have been characterised as insertion loci; combinatorial insertion at all three loci can be performed in one strain. The largest insertion at a single site described here was 5.4 kb; we have used this method in other studies to insert a total of 7.3 kb at one locus and 11.3 kb across two loci. These vectors are particularly useful for integration of multigene cassettes for metabolic engineering applications.
Chromosomal integration; Homologous recombination; Plasmid; Recombineering; E. coli; Xylanase; GFP; csc genes
L-ascorbic acid (L-AA) is naturally synthesized in plants from D-glucose by 10 steps pathway. The pathway branch to synthesize L-galactose, the key intermediate for L-ascorbic acid biosynthesis, has been recently elucidated. Budding yeast produces an 5-carbon ascorbic acid analogue Dehydro-D-arabinono 1,4-lactone (D-DAL), which is synthesized from D-arabinose. Yeast is able to synthesize L-ascorbic acid only if it is cultivated in the presence of one of its precursors: L-galactose, L-galactono 1,4-lactone, or L-gulono 1,4-lactone extracted from plants or animals. To avoid feeding the yeast culture with this “L” enantiomer, we engineered Kluyveromyces lactis with L-galactose biosynthesis pathway genes: GDP-mannose 3,5-epimerase (GME), GDP-L-galactose phosphorylase (VTC2) and L-galactose-1-phosphate phosphatase (VTC4) isolated from Arabidopsis thaliana.
Plasmids were constructed and modified such that the cloned plant genes were targeted to the K. lactis LAC4 Locus by homologous recombination and that the expression was associated to the growth on D-galactose or lactose. Upon K. lactis transformation, GME was under the control of the native LAC4 promoter whereas VTC2 and VTC4 were expressed from the S. cerevisiae promoters GPD1 and ADH1 respectively. The expression in K. lactis, of the L-galactose biosynthesis genes was determined by Reverse Transcriptase-PCR and western blotting. The recombinant yeasts were capable to produce about 30 mg.L-1 of L-ascorbic acid in 48 hours of cultivation when cultured on rich medium with 2% (w/v) D-galactose. We also evaluated the L-AA production culturing recombinant recombinant strains in cheese whey, a waste product during cheese production, as an alternative source of lactose.
This work is the first attempt to engineer K. lactis cells for L-ascorbic acid biosynthesis by a fermentation process without any trace of “L” isomers precursors in the culture medium. We have engineered K. lactis strains capable of converting lactose and D-galactose into L-galactose, by the integration of the genes from the A. thaliana L-galactose pathway. L-galactose is a rare sugar, which is one of the main precursors for L-AA production.
Kluyveromyces lactis; L-ascorbic acid; L-galactose; Metabolic engineering
In the biopharmaceutical industry, Escherichia coli (E. coli) strains are among the most frequently used bacterial hosts for producing recombinant proteins because they allow a simple process set-up and they are Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved for human applications. Widespread use of E. coli in biotechnology has led to the development of many different strains, and selecting an ideal host to produce a specific protein of interest is an important step in developing a production process. E. coli B and K–12 strains are frequently employed in large-scale production processes, and therefore are of particular interest. We previously evaluated the individual cultivation characteristics of E. coli BL21 and the K–12 hosts RV308 and HMS174. To our knowledge, there has not yet been a detailed comparison of the individual performances of these production strains in terms of recombinant protein production and system stability. The present study directly compared the T7-based expression hosts E. coli BL21(DE3), RV308(DE3), and HMS174(DE3), focusing on evaluating the specific attributes of these strains in relation to high-level protein production of the model protein recombinant human superoxide dismutase (SOD). The experimental setup was an exponential carbon-limited fed-batch cultivation with minimal media and single-pulse induction.
The host strain BL21(DE3) produced the highest amounts of specific protein, followed by HMS174(DE3) and RV308(DE3). The expression system HMS174(DE3) exhibited system stability by retaining the expression vector over the entire process time; however, it entirely stopped growing shortly after induction. In contrast, BL21(DE3) and RV308(DE3) encountered plasmid loss but maintained growth. RV308(DE3) exhibited the lowest ppGpp concentration, which is correlated with the metabolic stress level and lowest degradation of soluble protein fraction compared to both other strains.
Overall, this study provides novel data regarding the individual strain properties and production capabilities, which will enable targeted strain selection for producing a specific protein of interest. This information can be used to accelerate future process design and implementation.
E. coli; Fed-batch; SOD; Recombinant protein production; Bioreactor cultivation; Strain characterization
Polylactic acid (PLA), a biodegradable polymer, has the potential to replace (at least partially) traditional petroleum-based plastics, minimizing “white pollution”. However, cost-effective production of optically pure L-lactic acid is needed to achieve the full potential of PLA. Currently, starch-based glucose is used for L-lactic acid fermentation by lactic acid bacteria. Due to its competition with food resources, an alternative non-food substrate such as cellulosic biomass is needed for L-lactic acid fermentation. Nevertheless, the substrate (sugar stream) derived from cellulosic biomass contains significant amounts of xylose, which is unfermentable by most lactic acid bacteria. However, the microorganisms that do ferment xylose usually carry out heterolactic acid fermentation. As a result, an alternative strain should be developed for homofermentative production of optically pure L-lactic acid using cellulosic biomass.
In this study, an ethanologenic Escherichia coli strain, SZ470 (ΔfrdBC ΔldhA ΔackA ΔpflB ΔpdhR ::pflBp6-acEF-lpd ΔmgsA), was reengineered for homofermentative production of L-lactic acid from xylose (1.2 mole xylose = > 2 mole L-lactic acid), by deleting the alcohol dehydrogenase gene (adhE) and integrating the L-lactate dehydrogenase gene (ldhL) of Pediococcus acidilactici. The resulting strain, WL203, was metabolically evolved further through serial transfers in screw-cap tubes containing xylose, resulting in the strain WL204 with improved anaerobic cell growth. When tested in 70 g L-1 xylose fermentation (complex medium), WL204 produced 62 g L-1 L-lactic acid, with a maximum production rate of 1.631 g L-1 h-1 and a yield of 97% based on xylose metabolized. HPLC analysis using a chiral column showed that an L-lactic acid optical purity of 99.5% was achieved by WL204.
These results demonstrated that WL204 has the potential for homofermentative production of L-lactic acid using cellulosic biomass derived substrates, which contain a significant amount of xylose.
E. coli; Genetic engineering; L-lactic acid; PLA; Xylose fermentation
L(-)-carnitine production has been widely studied because of its beneficial properties on various diseases and dysfunctions. Enterobacteria possess a specific biotransformation pathway which can be used for the enantioselective production of L(-)-carnitine. Although bioprocesses catalyzed by enzymes or whole cells can overcome the lack of enantioselectivity of chemical methods, current processes for L(−)-carnitine production still have severe disadvantages, such as the low yields, side reactions and the need of high catalyst concentrations and anaerobic conditions for proper expression of the biotransformation pathway. Additionally, genetically engineered strains so far constructed for L(-)-carnitine production are based on plasmids and, therefore, suffer from segregational unstability.
In this work, a stable, high yielding strain for L(-)-carnitine production from low cost substrates was constructed. A metabolic engineering strategy was implemented in a multiple mutant for use in both growing and resting cells systems. The effect of mutations on gene expression and metabolism was analyzed to characterize the productivity constraints of the wild type and the overproducer strains. Precise deletion of genes which encode proteins of central and carnitine metabolisms were performed. Specifically, flux through the TCA cycle was increased by deletion of aceK (which encodes a bifunctional kinase/phosphatase which inhibits isocitrate dehydrogenase activity) and the synthesis of the by-product γ-butyrobetaine was prevented by deletion of caiA (which encodes a crotonobetainyl-CoA reductase). Both mutations led to improve the L(-)-carnitine production by 20 and 42%, respectively. Moreover, the highly regulated promoter of the cai operon was substituted by a constitutive artificial promoter increasing the biotransformation rate, even under aerobic conditions. Resting cells of the BW ΔaceK ΔcaiA p37cai strain produced 59.6 mmol l-1 · h-1 of L(−)-carnitine, doubling the productivity of the wild type strain. In addition, almost total conversion was attained in less than two hours without concomitant production of the side product γ–butyrobetaine.
L(-)-carnitine production has been enhanced by strain engineering. Metabolic engineering strategies herein implemented allowed obtaining a robust and high yielding E. coli strain. The new overproducer strain attained almost complete conversion of crotonobetaine into L(-)-carnitine with growing and resting cells, and even under aerobic conditions, overcoming the main environmental restriction to carnitine metabolism expression. So far, this is the best performing L(-)-carnitine production E. coli strain described.
Biotransformation; Carnitine; Strain engineering; Artificial promoter; Knock-in; Knock-out; Crotonobetaine
Precise regulation of DNA replication is necessary to ensure the inheritance of genetic features by daughter cells after each cell division. Therefore, determining how the regulatory processes operate to control DNA replication is crucial to our understanding and application to biotechnological processes. Contrary to early concepts of DNA replication, it appears that this process is operated by large, stationary nucleoprotein complexes, called replication factories, rather than by single enzymes trafficking along template molecules. Recent discoveries indicated that in bacterial cells two processes, central carbon metabolism (CCM) and transcription, significantly and specifically influence the control of DNA replication of various replicons. The impact of these discoveries on our understanding of the regulation of DNA synthesis is discussed in this review. It appears that CCM may influence DNA replication by either action of specific metabolites or moonlighting activities of some enzymes involved in this metabolic pathway. The role of transcription in the control of DNA replication may arise from either topological changes in nucleic acids which accompany RNA synthesis or direct interactions between replication and transcription machineries. Due to intriguing similarities between some prokaryotic and eukaryotic regulatory systems, possible implications of studies on regulation of microbial DNA replication on understanding such a process occurring in human cells are discussed.
DNA replication; Central carbon metabolism; Transcription
Numerous microorganisms accumulate polyesters classified as polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) as carbon and energy storage material when the growth condition is unfavorable in the presence of excess carbon source. Natural PHAs typically consist of various (R)-hydroxycarboxylic acids, and exhibit different material properties depending on the monomer composition. Such diversity comes from different metabolic pathways operating in the cell, and thus generating different monomers. Even more diverse PHAs can be produced by metabolically engineered microorganisms, which leads to the biosynthesis of non-natural polyesters containing lactate as a monomer. In order to make PHAs as useful polymers in our daily life, their production cost should be significantly lowered and material properties should be compatible with those produced by petrochemical industries. Metabolic engineering can address these issues by developing microbial strains capable of producing PHAs of desired material properties with high productivity and yield from inexpensive carbon sources. This commentary aims at peeking into the future of PHAs, focusing on the possible metabolic engineering strategies to be taken to achieve these goals.
Polyester; Polyhydroxyalkanoate; Metabolic engineering
Polylactic acid is a renewable raw material that is increasingly used in the manufacture of bioplastics, which offers a more sustainable alternative to materials derived from fossil resources. Both lactic acid bacteria and genetically engineered yeast have been implemented in commercial scale in biotechnological production of lactic acid. In the present work, genes encoding l-lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) of Lactobacillus helveticus, Bacillus megaterium and Rhizopus oryzae were expressed in a new host organism, the non-conventional yeast Candida sonorensis, with or without the competing ethanol fermentation pathway.
Each LDH strain produced substantial amounts of lactate, but the properties of the heterologous LDH affected the distribution of carbon between lactate and by-products significantly, which was reflected in extra-and intracellular metabolite concentrations. Under neutralizing conditions C. sonorensis expressing L. helveticus LDH accumulated lactate up to 92 g/l at a yield of 0.94 g/g glucose, free of ethanol, in minimal medium containing 5 g/l dry cell weight. In rich medium with a final pH of 3.8, 49 g/l lactate was produced. The fermentation pathway was modified in some of the strains studied by deleting either one or both of the pyruvate decarboxylase encoding genes, PDC1 and PDC2. The deletion of both PDC genes together abolished ethanol production and did not result in significantly reduced growth characteristic to Saccharomyces cerevisiae deleted of PDC1 and PDC5.
We developed an organism without previous record of genetic engineering to produce L-lactic acid to a high concentration, introducing a novel host for the production of an industrially important metabolite, and opening the way for exploiting C. sonorensis in additional biotechnological applications. Comparison of metabolite production, growth, and enzyme activities in a representative set of transformed strains expressing different LDH genes in the presence and absence of a functional ethanol pathway, at neutral and low pH, generated a comprehensive picture of lactic acid production in this yeast. The findings are applicable in generation other lactic acid producing yeast, thus providing a significant contribution to the field of biotechnical production of lactic acid.
FK506 is an important immunosuppressant, which can be produced by Streptomyces tsukubaensis. However, the production capacity of the strain is very low. Hereby, a computational guided engineering approach was proposed in order to improve the intracellular precursor and cofactor availability of FK506 in S. tsukubaensis.
First, a genome-scale metabolic model of S. tsukubaensis was constructed based on its annotated genome and biochemical information. Subsequently, several potential genetic targets (knockout or overexpression) that guaranteed an improved yield of FK506 were identified by the recently developed methodology. To validate the model predictions, each target gene was manipulated in the parent strain D852, respectively. All the engineered strains showed a higher FK506 production, compared with D852. Furthermore, the combined effect of the genetic modifications was evaluated. Results showed that the strain HT-ΔGDH-DAZ with gdhA-deletion and dahp-, accA2-, zwf2-overexpression enhanced FK506 concentration up to 398.9 mg/L, compared with 143.5 mg/L of the parent strain D852. Finally, fed-batch fermentations of HT-ΔGDH-DAZ were carried out, which led to the FK506 production of 435.9 mg/L, 1.47-fold higher than the parent strain D852 (158.7 mg/L).
Results confirmed that the promising targets led to an increase in FK506 titer. The present work is the first attempt to engineer the primary precursor pathways to improve FK506 production in S. tsukubaensis with genome-scale metabolic network guided metabolic engineering. The relationship between model prediction and experimental results demonstrates the rationality and validity of this approach for target identification. This strategy can also be applied to the improvement of other important secondary metabolites.
Streptomyces tsukubaensis; FK506; Genome-scale metabolic model; Target prediction; Metabolic engineering; Combinatorial modification
Novel analytical tools, which shorten the long and costly development cycles of biopharmaceuticals are essential. Metabolic flux analysis (MFA) shows great promise in improving our understanding of the metabolism of cell factories in bioreactors, but currently only provides information post-process using conventional off-line methods. MFA combined with real time multianalyte process monitoring techniques provides a valuable platform technology allowing real time insights into metabolic responses of cell factories in bioreactors. This could have a major impact in the bioprocessing industry, ultimately improving product consistency, productivity and shortening development cycles.
This is the first investigation using Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) in situ combined with metabolic flux modelling which is both a significant challenge and considerable extension of these techniques. We investigated the feasibility of our approach using the industrial workhorse Pichia pastoris in a simplified model system. A parental P. pastoris strain (i.e. which does not synthesize recombinant protein) was used to allow definition of distinct metabolic states focusing solely upon the prediction of intracellular fluxes in central carbon metabolism. Extracellular fluxes were determined using off-line conventional reference methods and on-line NIR predictions (calculated by multivariate analysis using the partial least squares algorithm, PLS). The results showed that the PLS-NIRS models for biomass and glycerol were accurate: correlation coefficients, R2, above 0.90 and the root mean square error of prediction, RMSEP, of 1.17 and 2.90 g/L, respectively. The analytical quality of the NIR models was demonstrated by direct comparison with the standard error of the laboratory (SEL), which showed that performance of the NIR models was suitable for quantifying biomass and glycerol for calculating extracellular metabolite rates and used as independent inputs for the MFA (RMSEP lower than 1.5 × SEL). Furthermore, the results for the MFA from both datasets passed consistency tests performed for each steady state, showing that the precision of on-line NIRS is equivalent to that obtained by the off-line measurements.
The findings of this study show for the first time the potential of NIRS as an input generating for MFA models, contributing to the optimization of cell factory metabolism in real-time.