Using engineered cyanobacteria to produce various chemicals from carbon dioxide is a promising technology for a sustainable future. Lactate is a valuable commodity that can be used for the biodegradable plastic, polylactic acid. Typically, lactate production using engineered cyanobacteria was via the conversion of pyruvate in glycolysis by lactate dehydrogenase. In cyanobacteria, the metabolic flux in the Calvin cycle is higher than that in glycolysis under photoautotrophic conditions. The construction of a novel lactate producing pathway that uses metabolites from the Calvin cycle could potentially increase lactate productivity in cyanobacteria. In order to develop such a novel lactate production pathway, we engineered a cyanobacterium Synechococcus elongatus PCC 7942 strain that produced lactate directly from carbon dioxide using dihydroxyacetone phosphate (DHAP) via methylglyoxal. We confirmed that wild-type strain of S. elongatus PCC 7942 could produce lactate using exogenous methylglyoxal. A methylglyoxal synthase gene, mgsA, from Escherichia coli was introduced into Synechococcus elongates PCC 7942 for conversion of DHAP to methylglyoxal. This engineered strain produced lactate directly from carbon dioxide. Genes encoding intrinsic putative glyoxalase I, II (Synpcc7942_0638, 1403) and the lactate/H+ symporter from E. coli (lldP) were additionally introduced to enhance the production. For higher lactate production, it was important to maintain elevated extracellular pH due to the characteristics of lactate exporting system. In this study, the highest lactate titer of 13.7 mM (1.23 g/l) was achieved during a 24-day incubation with the engineered S. elongatus PCC 7942 strain possessing the novel lactate producing pathway.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology