Pathway engineering for production of aromatics in Escherichia coli: Confirmation of stoichiometric analysis by independent modulation of AroG, TktA, and Pps activities



The synthesis of 3-deoxy-D-arabino-heptulosonate-7-phosphate (DAHP) is the first commitment of resources toward aromatics production in Escherichia coli. DAHP is produced during a condensation reaction between phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP) and erythrose 4-phosphate (E4P) catalyzed by DAHP synthases (coded by aroF, aroG, and aroH). Stoichiometric analysis has shown a severe PEP limitation in the theoretical yield of DAHP production from glucose due to the phosphotransferase system (PTS) for sugar uptake. This limitation can be relieved by (i) the recycling of pyruvate from PEP using PEP synthase (Pps) or (ii) use of non-PTS sugars such as xylose. Previous studies have shown the usefulness of overexpressing tktA (encoding transketolase), aroG, and pps (PEP synthase) for DAHP production in an aroB strain unable to utilize DAHP further. In the present study we confirm the predictions of the stoichiometric analysis by introducing pps, tktA, and aroG into vectors under independently controlled promoters. In glucose medium, although TktA has some positive effect on the final DAHP concentration, it has no effect on the yield (percent conversion). With Pps overexpression, the DAHP concentration produced from glucose is increased almost twofold and the yield is approaching the theoretical maximum, as predicted by the stoichiometric analysis. However, this Pps effect is observed only in the presence of both increased AroG and TktA. In xylose mimimal medium, the final DAHP concentration and the yield are completely determined by the AroG activity. TktA and Pps play no or insignificant roles, and the yield can reach the theoretical maximum without overexpression of these two enzymes. The results shown here are important for both rational design of metabolic pathways and industrial production of aromatics such as tryptophan, phenylalanine, indigo, quinic acid, and catechol.