Identification of Enzymatic Bottlenecks for the Aerobic Production of Malate from Glycerol by the Systematic Gene Overexpression of Anaplerotic Enzymes in Escherichia coli
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DepartmentBiomedicina, Biotecnología y Salud Pública; Ingeniería Química y Tecnología de Alimentos
SourceInt. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(5), 2266
The biotechnological production of dicarboxylic acids (C4) from renewable carbon sources represents an attractive approach for the provision of these valuable compounds by green chemistry means. Glycerol has become a waste product of the biodiesel industry that serves as a highly reduced carbon source for some microorganisms. Escherichia coli is capable of consuming glycerol to produce succinate under anaerobic fermentation, but with the deletion of some tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle genes, it is also able to produce succinate and malate in aerobiosis. In this study, we investigate possible rate-limiting enzymes by overexpressing the C-feeding anaplerotic enzymes Ppc, MaeA, MaeB, and Pck in a mutant that lacks the succinate dehydrogenase (Sdh) enzyme. The overexpression of the TCA enzyme Mdh and the activation of the glyoxylate shunt was also examined. Using this unbiased approach, we found that phosphoenol pyruvate carboxylase (Ppc) overexpression enhances an oxidative pathway that leads to increasing succinate, while phosphoenol pyruvate carboxykinase (Pck) favors a more efficient reductive branch that produces mainly malate, at 57.5% of the theoretical maximum molar yield. The optimization of the culture medium revealed the importance of bicarbonate and pH in the production of malate. An additional mutation of the ppc gene highlights its central role in growth and C4 production.