268287 Metabolic Engineering of Escherichia Coli for Production of Mcl-PHA From Unrelated Carbon Sources

Monday, October 29, 2012: 2:00 PM
Westmoreland West (Westin )
Daniel E. Agnew1, J. Tyler Youngquist2 and Brian F. Pfleger2, (1)Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Wisconsin - Madison, Madison, WI, (2)Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Wisconsin Madison, Madison, WI

Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) are a class of naturally occurring microbial polyesters whose metabolism and material properties have been well characterized owing to their renewable nature and potential to obviate petroleum derived plastics such as polypropylene. Polyesters with monomers consisting of ≥6 carbons are known as medium chain-length (mcl)-PHA and are industrially relevant, allowing for greater variation in the material properties of the polymer with longer chain-lengths resulting in lower glass transition and melting temperatures. Production of mcl-PHA is often achieved through feeding of exogenous fatty acids (FA) and related compounds and generally results in a polymer with a heterogeneous monomer composition due to the iterative nature of fatty acid metabolism. However, this method of production is limited by the cost of the FA feedstock and in many cases, the lack of control over the composition of the final product. To overcome these obstacles, we have engineered a strain of Escherichia coli that is capable of growth on a non-FA feedstock (i.e., glucose) for production of mcl-PHA with a pre-determined composition. Endogenous FA production on glucose was achieved by overexpression of a plant thioesterase (BTE) and the resulting free FAs routed through β-oxidation toward mcl-PHA via overexpression of PHA biosynthesis genes from Pseudomonas. In addition, experimental analysis of a β-oxidation knockout library led to insight into the role of fad genes in the presence of exogenous and endogenous free FAs.

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