γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a drug and functional food additive and is used as a monomer for producing the biodegradable plastic, polyamide 4. Recently, direct GABA fermentation from glucose has been developed as an alternative to glutamate-based whole cell bioconversion. Although total productivity in fermentation is determined by the specific productivity and cell amount responsible for GABA production, the optimal metabolic state for GABA production conflicts with that for bacterial cell growth. Herein, we demonstrated metabolic state switching from the cell growth mode based on the metabolic pathways of the wild type strain to a GABA production mode based on a synthetic metabolic pathway in Escherichia coli through rewriting of the metabolic regulatory network and pathway engineering. The GABA production mode was achieved by multiple strategies such as conditional interruption of the TCA and glyoxylate cycles, engineering of GABA production pathway including a bypass for precursor metabolite supply, and upregulation of GABA transporter. As a result, we achieved 3-fold improvement in total GABA production titer and yield (4.8 g/L, 49.2% (mol/mol glucose)) in batch fermentation compared to the case without metabolic state switching (1.6 g/L, 16.4% (mol/mol glucose)). This study reports the highest GABA production performance among previous reports on GABA fermentation from glucose using engineered E. coli.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology