L-Cysteine production by metabolically engineered Corynebacterium glutamicum.Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 2019; 103(6):2609-2619AM
L-Cysteine is a commercially important amino acid. Here, we report the construction of L-cysteine-producing Corynebacterium glutamicum using a metabolic engineering approach. L-Serine O-acetyltransferase (SAT), encoded by cysE gene, is a key enzyme of L-cysteine biosynthesis, because of its feedback inhibition by L-cysteine. Therefore, we introduced a mutation into the C. glutamicum cysE gene, which appeared to desensitize SAT against feedback inhibition by L-cysteine. We successfully produced L-cysteine by overexpressing this mutant cysE gene in C. glutamicum, while the wild-type strain scarcely produced L-cysteine. To enhance the biosynthesis of L-serine (a substrate for SAT), a mutant serA gene, encoding D-3-phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase to desensitize it against feedback inhibition by L-serine, was additionally overexpressed in the mutant cysE-overexpressing strain and its L-cysteine production was indeed improved. Moreover, we disrupted the ldh gene encoding L-lactate dehydrogenase and the aecD gene encoding cysteine desulfhydrase to prevent the formation of lactic acid as a by-product and degradation of L-cysteine produced at the stationary phase, respectively, which resulted in enhanced L-cysteine production. However, since the concentration of L-cysteine produced still decreased at the stationary phase despite the aecD disruption, NCgl2463 encoding a possible cystine importer protein was further disrupted to prevent cystine import, because the produced L-cysteine is immediately oxidized to cystine. As a result, the time before the start of the decrease in L-cysteine concentration was successfully prolonged. Approximately 200 mg/L of L-cysteine production was achieved by overexpression of mutant cysE and serA genes and disruption of aecD and NCgl2463 genes in C. glutamicum.