Metabolic network reconstruction and phenome analysis of the industrial microbe, Escherichia coli BL21(DE3).
ABSTRACT: Escherichia coli BL21(DE3) is an industrial model microbe for the mass-production of bioproducts such as biofuels, biorefineries, and recombinant proteins. However, despite its important role in scientific research and biotechnological applications, a high-quality metabolic network model for metabolic engineering is yet to be developed. Here, we present the comprehensive metabolic network model of E. coli BL21(DE3), named iHK1487, based on the latest genome reannotation and phenome analysis. The metabolic model consists of 1,164 unique metabolites, 2,701 metabolic reactions, and 1,487 genes. The model was validated and improved by comparing the simulation results with phenome data from phenotype microarray tests. Previous transcriptome profile data was incorporated during model reconstruction, and flux prediction was simulated using the model. iHK1487 was simulated to explore the metabolic features of BL21(DE3) such as broad spectrum amino acid utilization and enhanced flux through the upper glycolytic pathway and TCA cycle. iHK1487 will contribute to systematic understanding of cellular physiology and metabolism of E. coli BL21(DE3) and highlight its biotechnological applications.
Project description:Escherichia coli BL21(DE3) has long served as a model organism for scientific research, as well as a workhorse for biotechnology. Here we present the most current genome annotation of E. coli BL21(DE3) based on the transcriptome structure of the strain that was determined for the first time. The genome was annotated using multiple automated pipelines and compared to the current genome annotation of the closely related strain, E. coli K-12. High-resolution tiling array data of E. coli BL21(DE3) from several different stages of cell growth in rich and minimal media were analyzed to characterize the transcriptome structure and to provide supporting evidence for open reading frames. This new integrated analysis of the genomic and transcriptomic structure of E. coli BL21(DE3) has led to the correction of translation initiation sites for 88 coding DNA sequences and provided updated information for most genes. Additionally, 37 putative genes and 66 putative non-coding RNAs were also identified. The panoramic landscape of the genome and transcriptome of E. coli BL21(DE3) revealed here will allow us to better understand the fundamental biology of the strain and also advance biotechnological applications in industry.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Escherichia coli is one of the most widely used hosts for recombinant protein production in academia and industry. Strain BL21(DE3) is frequently employed due to its advantageous feature of lacking proteases which avoids degradation of target protein. Usually it is used in combination with the T7-pET system where induction is performed by one point addition of IPTG. We recently published a few studies regarding lactose induction in BL21(DE3) strains. BL21(DE3) can only take up the glucose-part of the disaccharide when fed with lactose. However, initially additional glucose has to be supplied as otherwise the ATP-related lactose uptake barely happens. Yet, as lactose is an inexpensive compound compared to glucose and IPTG, a new induction strategy by a lactose-only feed during induction seems attractive. Thus, we investigated this idea in the galactose metabolizing strain HMS174(DE3). RESULTS:We show that strain HMS174(DE3) can be cultivated on lactose as sole carbon source during induction. We demonstrate that strain HMS174(DE3) exhibits higher product and biomass yields compared to BL21(DE3) when cultivated in a lactose fed-batch. More importantly, HMS174(DE3) cultivated on lactose even expresses more product than BL21(DE3) in a standard IPTG induced glucose fed-batch at the same growth rate. Finally, we demonstrate that productivity in HMS174(DE3) lactose-fed batch cultivations can easily be influenced by the specific lactose uptake rate (qs,lac). This is shown for two model proteins, one expressed in soluble form and one as inclusion body. CONCLUSIONS:As strain HMS174(DE3) expresses even slightly higher amounts of target protein in a lactose fed-batch than BL21(DE3) in a standard cultivation, it seems a striking alternative for recombinant protein production. Especially for large scale production of industrial enzymes cheap substrates are essential. Besides cost factors, the strategy allows straight forward adjustment of specific product titers by variation of the lactose feed rate.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Gene expression is regulated through a complex interplay of different transcription factors (TFs) which can enhance or inhibit gene transcription. ArcA is a global regulator that regulates genes involved in different metabolic pathways, while IclR as a local regulator, controls the transcription of the glyoxylate pathway genes of the aceBAK operon. This study investigates the physiological and metabolic consequences of arcA and iclR deletions on E. coli K12 MG1655 under glucose abundant and limiting conditions and compares the results with the metabolic characteristics of E. coli BL21 (DE3). RESULTS: The deletion of arcA and iclR results in an increase in the biomass yield both under glucose abundant and limiting conditions, approaching the maximum theoretical yield of 0.65 c-mole/c-mole glucose under glucose abundant conditions. This can be explained by the lower flux through several CO2 producing pathways in the E. coli K12 ?arcA?iclR double knockout strain. Due to iclR gene deletion, the glyoxylate pathway is activated resulting in a redirection of 30% of the isocitrate molecules directly to succinate and malate without CO2 production. Furthermore, a higher flux at the entrance of the TCA was noticed due to arcA gene deletion, resulting in a reduced production of acetate and less carbon loss. Under glucose limiting conditions the flux through the glyoxylate pathway is further increased in the ?iclR knockout strain, but this effect was not observed in the double knockout strain. Also a striking correlation between the glyoxylate flux data and the isocitrate lyase activity was observed for almost all strains and under both growth conditions, illustrating the transcriptional control of this pathway. Finally, similar central metabolic fluxes were observed in E. coli K12 ?arcA ?iclR compared to the industrially relevant E. coli BL21 (DE3), especially with respect to the pentose pathway, the glyoxylate pathway, and the TCA fluxes. In addition, a comparison of the genome sequences of the two strains showed that BL21 possesses two mutations in the promoter region of iclR and rare codons are present in arcA implying a lower tRNA acceptance. Both phenomena presumably result in a reduced ArcA and IclR synthesis in BL21, which contributes to the similar physiology as observed in E. coli K12 ?arcA?iclR. CONCLUSIONS: The deletion of arcA results in a decrease of repression on transcription of TCA cycle genes under glucose abundant conditions, without significantly affecting the glyoxylate pathway activity. IclR clearly represses transcription of glyoxylate pathway genes under glucose abundance, a condition in which Crp activation is absent. Under glucose limitation, Crp is responsible for the high glyoxylate flux, but IclR still represses transcription. Finally, in E. coli BL21 (DE3), ArcA and IclR are poorly expressed, explaining the similar fluxes observed compared to the ?arcA?iclR strain.
Project description:When producing recombinant proteins, the use of Escherichia coli strain BL21(DE3) in combination with the T7-based pET-expression system is often the method of choice. In a recent study we introduced a mechanistic model describing the correlation of the specific glucose uptake rate (qs,glu) and the corresponding maximum specific lactose uptake rate (qs,lac,max) for a pET-based E. coli BL21(DE3) strain producing a single chain variable fragment (scFv). We showed the effect of qs,lac,max on productivity and product location underlining its importance for recombinant protein production. In the present study we investigated the mechanistic qs,glu/qs,lac,max correlation for four pET-based E. coli BL21(DE3) strains producing different recombinant products and thereby proved the mechanistic model to be platform knowledge for E. coli BL21(DE3). However, we found that the model parameters strongly depended on the recombinant product. Driven by this observation we tested different dynamic bioprocess strategies to allow a faster investigation of this mechanistic correlation. In fact, we succeeded and propose an experimental strategy comprising only one batch cultivation, one fed-batch cultivation as well as one dynamic experiment, to reliably determine the mechanistic model for qs,glu/qs,lac,max and get trustworthy model parameters for pET-based E. coli BL21(DE3) strains which are the basis for bioprocess development.
Project description:Escherichia coli BLR(DE3) is a commercially available recA-deficient derivative of BL21(DE3), one of the most widely used strains for recombinant protein expression. Here, we present the full-genome sequence of BLR(DE3) and highlight additional differences with its parent strain BL21(DE3) which were previously unreported but may affect its physiology.
Project description:Heterologous expression systems based on promoters inducible with isopropyl-?-D-1-thiogalactopyranoside (IPTG), e.g., Escherichia coli BL21(DE3) and cognate LacI(Q)/P(lacUV5)-T7 vectors, are commonly used for production of recombinant proteins and metabolic pathways. The applicability of such cell factories is limited by the complex physiological burden imposed by overexpression of the exogenous genes during a bioprocess. This burden originates from a combination of stresses that may include competition for the expression machinery, side-reactions due to the activity of the recombinant proteins, or the toxicity of their substrates, products and intermediates. However, the physiological impact of IPTG-induced conditional expression on the recombinant host under such harsh conditions is often overlooked.The physiological responses to IPTG of the E. coli BL21(DE3) strain and three different recombinants carrying a synthetic metabolic pathway for biodegradation of the toxic anthropogenic pollutant 1,2,3-trichloropropane (TCP) were investigated using plating, flow cytometry, and electron microscopy. Collected data revealed unexpected negative synergistic effect of inducer of the expression system and toxic substrate resulting in pronounced physiological stress. Replacing IPTG with the natural sugar effector lactose greatly reduced such stress, demonstrating that the effect was due to the original inducer's chemical properties.IPTG is not an innocuous inducer; instead, it exacerbates the toxicity of haloalkane substrate and causes appreciable damage to the E. coli BL21(DE3) host, which is already bearing a metabolic burden due to its content of plasmids carrying the genes of the synthetic metabolic pathway. The concentration of IPTG can be effectively tuned to mitigate this negative effect. Importantly, we show that induction with lactose, the natural inducer of P lac , dramatically lightens the burden without reducing the efficiency of the synthetic TCP degradation pathway. This suggests that lactose may be a better inducer than IPTG for the expression of heterologous pathways in E. coli BL21(DE3).
Project description:We have previously reported that phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase(Pck) overexpression under glycolytic conditions enables Escherichia coli to harbor a high intracellular ATP pool resulting in enhanced recombinant protein synthesis and biohydrogen production. To understand possible reasons of the high ATP haboring cell, we carried out transcriptome and metabolic flux analysis. Overall design: Comparison of main metabolic gene and regulator expression profiling using RNA-seq data of BL21(DE3) vs. BL21(DE3)_Pck_over under glucose LB
Project description:Membrane protein production is usually toxic to E. coli. However, using genetic screens strains can be isolated in which the toxicity of membrane protein production is reduced, thereby improving production yields. Best known examples are the C41(DE3) and C43(DE3) strains, which are both derived from the T7 RNA polymerase (P)-based BL21(DE3) protein production strain. In C41(DE3) and C43(DE3) mutations lowering t7rnap expression levels result in strongly reduced T7 RNAP accumulation levels. As a consequence membrane protein production stress is alleviated in the C41(DE3) and C43(DE3) strains, thereby increasing membrane protein yields. Here, we isolated Mutant56(DE3) from BL21(DE3) using a genetic screen designed to isolate BL21(DE3)-derived strains with mutations alleviating membrane protein production stress other than the ones in C41(DE3) and C43(DE3). The defining mutation of Mutant56(DE3) changes one amino acid in its T7 RNAP, which weakens the binding of the T7 RNAP to the T7 promoter governing target gene expression rather than lowering T7 RNAP levels. For most membrane proteins tested yields in Mutant56(DE3) were considerably higher than in C41(DE3) and C43(DE3). Thus, the isolation of Mutant56(DE3) shows that the evolution of BL21(DE3) can be promoted towards further enhanced membrane protein production.
Project description:The Escherichia coli B strain BL21(DE3) has had a profound impact on biotechnology through its use in the production of recombinant proteins. Little is understood, however, regarding the physiology of this important E. coli strain. We show here that BL21(DE3) totally lacks activity of the four [NiFe]-hydrogenases, the three molybdenum- and selenium-containing formate dehydrogenases and molybdenum-dependent nitrate reductase. Nevertheless, all of the structural genes necessary for the synthesis of the respective anaerobic metalloenzymes are present in the genome. However, the genes encoding the high-affinity molybdate transport system and the molybdenum-responsive transcriptional regulator ModE are absent from the genome. Moreover, BL21(DE3) has a nonsense mutation in the gene encoding the global oxygen-responsive transcriptional regulator FNR. The activities of the two hydrogen-oxidizing hydrogenases, therefore, could be restored to BL21(DE3) by supplementing the growth medium with high concentrations of Ni²? (Ni²?-transport is FNR-dependent) or by introducing a wild-type copy of the fnr gene. Only combined addition of plasmid-encoded fnr and high concentrations of MoO?²? ions could restore hydrogen production to BL21(DE3); however, to only 25-30% of a K-12 wildtype. We could show that limited hydrogen production from the enzyme complex responsible for formate-dependent hydrogen evolution was due solely to reduced activity of the formate dehydrogenase (FDH-H), not the hydrogenase component. The activity of the FNR-dependent formate dehydrogenase, FDH-N, could not be restored, even when the fnr gene and MoO?²? were supplied; however, nitrate reductase activity could be recovered by combined addition of MoO?²? and the fnr gene. This suggested that a further component specific for biosynthesis or activity of formate dehydrogenases H and N was missing. Re-introduction of the gene encoding ModE could only partially restore the activities of both enzymes. Taken together these results demonstrate that BL21(DE3) has major defects in anaerobic metabolism, metal ion transport and metalloprotein biosynthesis.
Project description:The biosynthesis of carboxylic acids including fatty acids from biomass is central in envisaged biorefinery concepts. The productivities are often, however, low due to product toxicity that hamper whole-cell biocatalyst performance. Here, we have investigated factors that influence the tolerance of Escherichia coli to medium chain carboxylic acid (i.e., n-heptanoic acid)-induced stress. The metabolic and genomic responses of E. coli BL21(DE3) and MG1655 grown in the presence of n-heptanoic acid indicated that the GadA/B-based glutamic acid-dependent acid resistance (GDAR) system might be critical for cellular tolerance. The GDAR system, which is responsible for scavenging intracellular protons by catalyzing decarboxylation of glutamic acid, was inactive in E. coli BL21(DE3). Activation of the GDAR system in this strain by overexpressing the rcsB and dsrA genes, of which the gene products are involved in the activation of GadE and RpoS, respectively, resulted in acid tolerance not only to HCl but also to n-heptanoic acid. Furthermore, activation of the GDAR system allowed the recombinant E. coli BL21(DE3) expressing the alcohol dehydrogenase of Micrococcus luteus and the Baeyer-Villiger monooxygenase of Pseudomonas putida to reach 60% greater product concentration in the biotransformation of ricinoleic acid (i.e., 12-hydroxyoctadec-9-enoic acid (1)) into n-heptanoic acid (5) and 11-hydroxyundec-9-enoic acid (4). This study may contribute to engineering E. coli-based biocatalysts for the production of carboxylic acids from renewable biomass.