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Metabolic engineering

Role of energetic coenzyme pools in the production of L-carnitine by Escherichia coli.


PMID 16904359

Abstract

The aim of this work was to understand the steps controlling the biotransformation of trimethylammonium compounds into L(-)-carnitine by Escherichia coli. The high-cell density reactor steady-state levels of carbon source (glycerol), biotransformation substrate (crotonobetaine), acetate (anaerobiosis product) and fumarate (as an electron acceptor) were pulsed by increasing them fivefold. Following the pulse, the evolution of the enzyme activities involved in the biotransformation process of crotonobetaine into L(-)-carnitine (crotonobetaine hydration), in the synthesis of acetyl-CoA (ACS: acetyl-CoA synthetase and PTA: ATP: acetate phosphotransferase) and in the distribution of metabolites for the tricarboxylic acid (ICDH: isocitrate dehydrogenase) and glyoxylate (ICL: isocitrate lyase) cycles was monitored. In addition, the levels of carnitine, the cell ATP content and the NADH/NAD(+) ratio were measured in order to assess the importance and participation of these energetic coenzymes in the catabolic system. The results provided an experimental demonstration of the important role of the glyoxylate shunt during biotransformation and the need for high levels of ATP to maintain metabolite transport and biotransformation. Moreover, the results obtained for the NADH/NAD(+) pool indicated that it is correlated with the biotransformation process at the NAD(+) regeneration and ATP production level in anaerobiosis. More importantly, a linear correlation between the NADH/NAD(+) ratio and the levels of the ICDH and ICL (carbon and electron flows) and the PTA and ACS (acetate and ATP production and acetyl-CoA synthesis) activity levels was assessed. The main metabolic pathway operating during cell metabolic perturbation with a pulse of glycerol and acetate in the high-cell density membrane reactor was that related to ICDH and ICL, both regulating the carbon metabolism, together with PTA and ACS enzymes (regulating ATP production).

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