Underground isoleucine biosynthesis pathways in E. coli.
ABSTRACT: The promiscuous activities of enzymes provide fertile ground for the evolution of new metabolic pathways. Here, we systematically explore the ability of E. coli to harness underground metabolism to compensate for the deletion of an essential biosynthetic pathway. By deleting all threonine deaminases, we generated a strain in which isoleucine biosynthesis was interrupted at the level of 2-ketobutyrate. Incubation of this strain under aerobic conditions resulted in the emergence of a novel 2-ketobutyrate biosynthesis pathway based upon the promiscuous cleavage of O-succinyl-L-homoserine by cystathionine ?-synthase (MetB). Under anaerobic conditions, pyruvate formate-lyase enabled 2-ketobutyrate biosynthesis from propionyl-CoA and formate. Surprisingly, we found this anaerobic route to provide a substantial fraction of isoleucine in a wild-type strain when propionate is available in the medium. This study demonstrates the selective advantage underground metabolism offers, providing metabolic redundancy and flexibility which allow for the best use of environmental carbon sources.
Project description:Formate is a major product of mixed-acid fermentation in Escherichia coli. Because formate can act as an uncoupler at high concentration it must be excreted from the cell. The FNT (formate-nitrite transporter) membrane channel FocA ensures formate is translocated across the cytoplasmic membrane. Two glycyl-radical enzymes (GREs), pyruvate formate-lyase (PflB) and 2-ketobutyrate formate-lyase (TdcE), generate formate as a product of catalysis during anaerobic growth of Escherichia coli. We demonstrate in this study that TdcE, like PflB, interacts specifically with FocA. His-tagged variants of two other predicted GREs encoded in the genome of E. coli were over-produced and purified and were shown not to interact with FocA, indicating that interaction with FocA is not a general property of GREs per se. Together, these data show that only the GREs TdcE and PflB interact with the FNT channel protein and suggest that, like PflB, TdcE can control formate translocation by FocA.
Project description:A direct sulfhydrylation pathway for methionine biosynthesis in Corynebacterium glutamicum was found. The pathway was catalyzed by metY encoding O-acetylhomoserine sulfhydrylase. The gene metY, located immediately upstream of metA, was found to encode a protein of 437 amino acids with a deduced molecular mass of 46,751 Da. In accordance with DNA and protein sequence data, the introduction of metY into C. glutamicum resulted in the accumulation of a 47-kDa protein in the cells and a 30-fold increase in O-acetylhomoserine sulfhydrylase activity, showing the efficient expression of the cloned gene. Although disruption of the metB gene, which encodes cystathionine gamma-synthase catalyzing the transsulfuration pathway of methionine biosynthesis, or the metY gene was not enough to lead to methionine auxotrophy, an additional mutation in the metY or the metB gene resulted in methionine auxotrophy. The growth pattern of the metY mutant strain was identical to that of the metB mutant strain, suggesting that both methionine biosynthetic pathways function equally well. In addition, an Escherichia coli metB mutant could be complemented by transformation of the strain with a DNA fragment carrying corynebacterial metY and metA genes. These data clearly show that C. glutamicum utilizes both transsulfuration and direct sulfhydrylation pathways for methionine biosynthesis. Although metY and metA are in close proximity to one another, separated by 143 bp on the chromosome, deletion analysis suggests that they are expressed independently. As with metA, methionine could also repress the expression of metY. The repression was also observed with metB, but the degree of repression was more severe with metY, which shows almost complete repression at 0.5 mM methionine in minimal medium. The data suggest a physiologically distinctive role of the direct sulfhydrylation pathway in C. glutamicum.
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:Actinobacillus succinogenes is one of the most promising strains for succinic acid production; however, the lack of efficient genetic tools for strain modification development hinders its further application. In this study, a markerless knockout method for A. succinogenes using in-frame deletion was first developed. The resulting ?pflA (encode pyruvate formate lyase 1-activating protein) strain displayed distinctive organic acid synthesis capacity under different cultivation modes. Additional acetate accumulation was observed in the ?pflA strain relative to that of the wild type under aerobic conditions, indicating that acetate biosynthetic pathway was activated. Importantly, pyruvate was completely converted to lactate under anaerobic fermentation. The transcription analysis and enzyme assay revealed that the expression level and specific activity of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) were significantly increased. In addition, the mRNA expression level of ldh was nearly increased 85-fold compared to that of the wild-type strain during aerobic-anaerobic dual-phase fermentation, resulting in 43.05 g/L lactate. These results demonstrate that pflA plays an important role in the regulation of C3 flux distribution. The deletion of pflA leads to the improvement of acetic acid production under aerobic conditions and activates lactic acid biosynthesis under anaerobic conditions. This study will help elaborate the mechanism governing organic acid biosynthesis in A. succinogenes.
Project description:Two novel chlorinated alkane-respiring Dehalobacter restrictus strains CF and DCA were isolated from the same enrichment culture, ACT-3, and characterized. The closed genomes of these highly similar sister strains were previously assembled from metagenomic sequence data and annotated. The isolation of the strains enabled experimental verification of predicted annotations, particularly focusing on irregularities or predicted gaps in central metabolic pathways and cofactor biosynthesis. Similar to D. restrictus strain PER-K23, strains CF and DCA require arginine, histidine and threonine for growth, although the corresponding biosynthesis pathways are predicted to be functional. Using strain CF to experimentally verify annotations, we determined that the predicted defective serine biosynthesis pathway can be rescued with a promiscuous serine hydroxymethyltransferase. Strain CF grew without added thiamine although the thiamine biosynthesis pathway is predicted to be absent; intracellular thiamine diphosphate, the cofactor of carboxylases in central metabolism, was not detected in cell extracts. Thus, strain CF may use amino acids to replenish central metabolites, portending entangled metabolite exchanges in ACT-3. Consistent with annotation, strain CF possesses a functional corrinoid biosynthesis pathway, demonstrated by increasing corrinoid content during growth and guided cobalamin biosynthesis in corrinoid-free medium. Chloroform toxicity to corrinoid-producing methanogens and acetogens may drive the conservation of corrinoid autotrophy in Dehalobacter strains. Heme detection in strain CF cell extracts suggests the 'archaeal' heme biosynthesis pathway also functions in anaerobic Firmicutes. This study reinforces the importance of incorporating enzyme promiscuity and cofactor availability in genome-scale functional predictions and identifies essential nutrient interdependencies in anaerobic dechlorinating microbial communities.
Project description:BACKGROUND:L-2-aminobutyric acid (L-ABA) is an unnatural amino acid that is a key intermediate for the synthesis of several important pharmaceuticals. To make the biosynthesis of L-ABA environmental friendly and more suitable for the industrial-scale production. We expand the nature metabolic network of Escherichia coli using metabolic engineering approach for the production of L-ABA. RESULTS:In this study, Escherichia coli THR strain with a modified pathway for threonine-hyperproduction was engineered via deletion of the rhtA gene from the chromosome. To redirect carbon flux from 2-ketobutyrate (2-KB) to L-ABA, the ilvIH gene was deleted to block the L-isoleucine pathway. Furthermore, the ilvA gene from Escherichia coli W3110 and the leuDH gene from Thermoactinomyces intermedius were amplified and co-overexpressed. The promoter was altered to regulate the expression strength of ilvA* and leuDH. The final engineered strain E. coli THR ΔrhtAΔilvIH/Gap-ilvA*-Pbs-leuDH was able to produce 9.33 g/L of L-ABA with a yield of 0.19 g/L/h by fed-batch fermentation in a 5 L bioreactor. CONCLUSIONS:This novel metabolically tailored strain offers a promising approach to fulfill industrial requirements for production of L-ABA.
Project description:There are a growing number of people entering underground spaces. However, underground spaces have unique environmental characteristics, and little is known about their effects on human health. It is crucial to elucidate the effects of the underground space environment on the health of humans and other organisms. This paper reviews the effects of hypoxia, toxic atmospheric particles, and low background radiation in the underground space environment on living organisms from the perspective of oxidative stress. Most studies have revealed that living organisms maintained in underground space environments exhibit obvious oxidative stress, which manifests as changes in oxidants, antioxidant enzyme activity, genetic damage, and even disease status. However, there are few relevant studies, and the pathophysiological mechanisms have not been fully elucidated. There remains an urgent need to focus on the biological effects of other underground environmental factors on humans and other organisms as well as the underlying mechanisms. In addition, based on biological research, exploring means to protect humans and living organisms in underground environments is also essential.
Project description:Blowouts present a small but genuine risk when drilling into the deep subsurface and can have an immediate and significant impact on the surrounding environment. Nevertheless, studies that document their long-term impact are scarce. In 1965, a catastrophic underground blowout occurred during the drilling of a gas well in The Netherlands, which led to the uncontrolled release of large amounts of natural gas from the reservoir to the surface. In this study, the remaining impact on methane chemistry in the overlying aquifers was investigated. Methane concentrations higher than 10 mg/L (n = 12) were all found to have ?13C-CH4 values larger than -30‰, typical of a thermogenic origin. Both ?13C-CH4 and ?D-CH4 correspond to the isotopic composition of the gas reservoir. Based on analysis of local groundwater flow conditions, this methane is not a remnant but most likely the result of ongoing leakage from the reservoir as a result of the blowout. Progressive enrichment of both ?13C-CH4 and ?D-CH4 is observed with increasing distance and decreasing methane concentrations. The calculated isotopic fractionation factors of ?C = 3 and ?D = 54 suggest anaerobic methane oxidation is partly responsible for the observed decrease in concentrations. Elevated dissolved iron and manganese concentrations at the fringe of the methane plume show that oxidation is primarily mediated by the reduction of iron and manganese oxides. Combined, the data reveal the long-term impact that underground gas well blowouts may have on groundwater chemistry, as well as the important role of anaerobic oxidation in controlling the fate of dissolved methane.
Project description:Previous studies have demonstrated the capability of Corynebacterium glutamicum for anaerobic succinate production from glucose under nongrowing conditions. In this work, we have addressed two shortfalls of this process, the formation of significant amounts of by-products and the limitation of the yield by the redox balance. To eliminate acetate formation, a derivative of the type strain ATCC 13032 (strain BOL-1), which lacked all known pathways for acetate and lactate synthesis (?cat ?pqo ?pta-ackA ?ldhA), was constructed. Chromosomal integration of the pyruvate carboxylase gene pyc(P458S) into BOL-1 resulted in strain BOL-2, which catalyzed fast succinate production from glucose with a yield of 1 mol/mol and showed only little acetate formation. In order to provide additional reducing equivalents derived from the cosubstrate formate, the fdh gene from Mycobacterium vaccae, coding for an NAD(+)-coupled formate dehydrogenase (FDH), was chromosomally integrated into BOL-2, leading to strain BOL-3. In an anaerobic batch process with strain BOL-3, a 20% higher succinate yield from glucose was obtained in the presence of formate. A temporary metabolic blockage of strain BOL-3 was prevented by plasmid-borne overexpression of the glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase gene gapA. In an anaerobic fed-batch process with glucose and formate, strain BOL-3/pAN6-gap accumulated 1,134 mM succinate in 53 h with an average succinate production rate of 1.59 mmol per g cells (dry weight) (cdw) per h. The succinate yield of 1.67 mol/mol glucose is one of the highest currently described for anaerobic succinate producers and was accompanied by a very low level of by-products (0.10 mol/mol glucose).
Project description:A central unresolved issue in evolutionary biology is how metabolic innovations emerge. Low-level enzymatic side activities are frequent and can potentially be recruited for new biochemical functions. However, the role of such underground reactions in adaptation toward novel environments has remained largely unknown and out of reach of computational predictions, not least because these issues demand analyses at the level of the entire metabolic network. Here, we provide a comprehensive computational model of the underground metabolism in Escherichia coli. Most underground reactions are not isolated and 45% of them can be fully wired into the existing network and form novel pathways that produce key precursors for cell growth. This observation allowed us to conduct an integrated genome-wide in silico and experimental survey to characterize the evolutionary potential of E. coli to adapt to hundreds of nutrient conditions. We revealed that underground reactions allow growth in new environments when their activity is increased. We estimate that at least ?20% of the underground reactions that can be connected to the existing network confer a fitness advantage under specific environments. Moreover, our results demonstrate that the genetic basis of evolutionary adaptations via underground metabolism is computationally predictable. The approach used here has potential for various application areas from bioengineering to medical genetics.