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Metabolically engineered Escherichia coli for biotechnological production of four-carbon 1,4-dicarboxylic acids

Cao, Yujin, Cao, Yugang, Lin, Xiangzhi
Journal of industrial microbiology & biotechnology 2011 v.38 no.6 pp. 649-656
Escherichia coli, bacteria, biochemical pathways, biomass, biosynthesis, chemistry, energy resources, enzymes, malates, metabolic engineering, succinic acid
Confronted with inescapable exhaustion of the earth’s fossil energy resources, the bio-based process to produce industrial chemicals is receiving significant interest. Biotechnological production of four-carbon 1,4-dicarboxylic acids (C4 diacids) from renewable plant biomass is a promising and attractive alternative to conventional chemistry routes. Although the C4 diacids pathway is well characterized and microorganisms able to convert biomass to these acids have been isolated and described, much still has to be done to make this process economically feasible. Metabolically engineered Escherichia coli has been developed as a biocatalyst to provide new processes for the biosynthesis of many valuable chemicals. However, E. coli does not naturally produce C4 diacids in large quantities. Rational strain development by metabolic engineering based on efficient genetic tools and detailed knowledge of metabolic pathways are crucial to successful production of these compounds. This review summarizes recent efforts and experiences devoted to metabolic engineering of the industrial model bacteria E. coli that led to efficient recombinant biocatalysts for the production of C4 diacids, including succinate, fumarate, malate, oxaloacetate, and aspartate, as well as the key limitations and challenges. Continued advancements in metabolic engineering will help to improve the titers, yields, and productivities of the C4 diacids discussed here.