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Metabolic engineering of Acinetobacter baylyi ADP1 for improved growth on gluconate and glucose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7021-7027
Number of pages7
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


A high growth rate in bacterial cultures is usually achieved by optimizing growth conditions, but metabolism of the bacterium limits the maximal growth rate attainable on the carbon source used. This limitation can be circumvented by engineering the metabolism of the bacterium. Acinetobacter baylyi has become a model organism for studies of bacterial metabolism and metabolic engineering due to its wide substrate spectrum and easy-to-engineer genome. It produces naturally storage lipids, such as wax esters, and has a unique gluconate catabolism as it lacks a gene for pyruvate kinase. We engineered the central metabolism of A. baylyi ADP1 more favorable for gluconate catabolism by expressing the pyruvate kinase gene (pykF) of Escherichia coli. This modification increased growth rate when cultivated on gluconate or glucose as a sole carbon source in a batch cultivation. The engineered cells reached stationary phase on these carbon sources approximately twice as fast as control cells carrying an empty plasmid and produced similar amount of biomass. Furthermore, when grown on either gluconate or glucose, pykF expression did not lead to significant accumulation of overflow metabolites and consumption of the substrate remained unaltered. Increased growth rate on glucose was not accompanied with decreased wax ester production, and the pykF-expressing cells accumulated significantly more of these storage lipids with respect to cultivation time.