Metabolic engineering of Pseudomonas taiwanensis VLB120 for rhamnolipid biosynthesis from biomass-derived aromatics

Metab Eng Commun. 2022 Aug 10;15:e00202. doi: 10.1016/j.mec.2022.e00202. eCollection 2022 Dec.


Lignin is a ubiquitously available and sustainable feedstock that is underused as its depolymerization yields a range of aromatic monomers that are challenging substrates for microbes. In this study, we investigated the growth of Pseudomonas taiwanensis VLB120 on biomass-derived aromatics, namely, 4-coumarate, ferulate, 4-hydroxybenzoate, and vanillate. The wild type strain was not able to grow on 4-coumarate and ferulate. After integration of catabolic genes for breakdown of 4-coumarate and ferulate, the metabolically engineered strain was able to grow on these aromatics. Further, the specific growth rate of the strain was enhanced up to 3-fold using adaptive laboratory evolution, resulting in increased tolerance towards 4-coumarate and ferulate. Whole-genome sequencing highlighted several different mutations mainly in two genes. The first gene was actP, coding for a cation/acetate symporter, and the other gene was paaA coding for a phenyl acetyl-CoA oxygenase. The evolved strain was further engineered for rhamnolipid production. Among the biomass-derived aromatics investigated, 4-coumarate and ferulate were promising substrates for product synthesis. With 4-coumarate as the sole carbon source, a yield of 0.27 (Cmolrhl/Cmol4-coumarate) was achieved, corresponding to 28% of the theoretical yield. Ferulate enabled a yield of about 0.22 (Cmolrhl/Cmolferulate), representing 42% of the theoretical yield. Overall, this study demonstrates the use of biomass-derived aromatics as novel carbon sources for rhamnolipid biosynthesis.

PMID:36017490 | PMC:PMC9396041 | DOI:10.1016/j.mec.2022.e00202


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