Engineering central pathways for industrial-level (3R)-acetoin biosynthesis in Corynebacterium glutamicum.Microb Cell Fact. 2020 May 12; 19(1):102.MC
Acetoin, especially the optically pure (3S)- or (3R)-enantiomer, is a high-value-added bio-based platform chemical and important potential pharmaceutical intermediate. Over the past decades, intense efforts have been devoted to the production of acetoin through green biotechniques. However, efficient and economical methods for the production of optically pure acetoin enantiomers are rarely reported. Previously, we systematically engineered the GRAS microorganism Corynebacterium glutamicum to efficiently produce (3R)-acetoin from glucose. Nevertheless, its yield and average productivity were still unsatisfactory for industrial bioprocesses.
In this study, cellular carbon fluxes in the acetoin producer CGR6 were further redirected toward acetoin synthesis using several metabolic engineering strategies, including blocking anaplerotic pathways, attenuating key genes of the TCA cycle and integrating additional copies of the alsSD operon into the genome. Among them, the combination of attenuation of citrate synthase and inactivation of phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase showed a significant synergistic effect on acetoin production. Finally, the optimal engineered strain CGS11 produced a titer of 102.45 g/L acetoin with a yield of 0.419 g/g glucose at a rate of 1.86 g/L/h in a 5 L fermenter. The optical purity of the resulting (3R)-acetoin surpassed 95%.
To the best of our knowledge, this is the highest titer of highly enantiomerically enriched (3R)-acetoin, together with a competitive product yield and productivity, achieved in a simple, green processes without expensive additives or substrates. This process therefore opens the possibility to achieve easy, efficient, economical and environmentally-friendly production of (3R)-acetoin via microbial fermentation in the near future.