Analysis of NADPH supply during xylitol production by engineered escherichia coli

Jonathan W. Chin, Reza Khankal, Caroline A. Monroe, Costas D. Maranas, Patrick C. Cirino

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Escherichia coli strain PC09 (ΔxylB, cAMP- independent CRP (crp*) mutant) expressing an NADPH-dependent xylose reductase from Candida boidinii (CbXR) was previously reported to produce xylitol from xylose while metabolizing glucose [Cirino et al. (2006) Biotechnol Bioeng 95(6): 1167-1176]. This study aims to understand the role of NADPH supply in xylitol yield and the contribution of key central carbon metabolism enzymes toward xylitol production. Studies in which the expression of CbXR or a xylose transporter was increased suggest that enzyme activity and xylose transport are not limiting xylitol production in PC09. A constraints-based stoichiometric metabolic network model was used to understand the roles of central carbon metabolism reactions and xylose transport energetics on the theoretical maximum molar xylitol yield (xylitol produced per glucose consumed), and xylitol yields (Y RPG) were measured from resting cell biotransformations with various PC09 derivative strains. For the case of xylose-proton symport, omitting the Zwf (glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase) or PntAB (membrane-bound transhydrogenase) reactions or TCA cycle activity from the model reduces the theoretical maximum yield from 9.2 to 8.8, 3.6, and 8.0 mol xylitol (mol glucose) -1, respectively. Experimentally, deleting pgi (encoding phosphoglucose isomerase) from strain PC09 improves the yield from 3.4 to 4.0 mol xylitol (mol glucose) -1, while deleting either or both E. coli transhydrogenases (sthA and pntA) has no significant effect on the measured yield. Deleting either zwf or sucC (TCA cycle) significantly reduces the yield from 3.4 to 2.0 and 2.3 mol xylitol (mol glucose) -1, respectively. Expression of a xylose reductase with relaxed cofactor specificity increases the yield to 4.0. The large discrepancy between theoretical maximum and experimentally determined yield values suggests that biocatalysis is compromised by pathways competing for reducing equivalents and dissipating energy. The metabolic role of transhydrogenases during E. coli biocatalysis has remained largely unspecified. Our results demonstrate the importance of direct NADPH supply by NADP +-utilizing enzymes in central metabolism for driving heterologous NADPH-dependent reactions, and suggest that the pool of reduced cofactors available for biotransformation is not readily interchangeable via transhydrogenase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-220
Number of pages12
JournalBiotechnology and bioengineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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