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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2000 Feb;66(2):739-43.

A novel genetically engineered pathway for synthesis of poly(hydroxyalkanoic acids) in Escherichia coli.

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Institut für Mikrobiologie, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, D-48149, Münster, Germany.


A new pathway to synthesize poly(hydroxyalkanoic acids) (PHA) was constructed by simultaneously expressing butyrate kinase (Buk) and phosphotransbutyrylase (Ptb) genes of Clostridium acetobutylicum and the two PHA synthase genes (phaE and phaC) of Thiocapsa pfennigii in Escherichia coli. The four genes were cloned into the BamHI and EcoRI sites of pBR322, and the resulting hybrid plasmid, pBPP1, conferred activities of all three enzymes to E. coli JM109. Cells of this recombinant strain accumulated PHAs when hydroxyfatty acids were provided as carbon sources. Homopolyesters of 3-hydroxybutyrate (3HB), 4-hydroxybutyrate (4HB), or 4-hydroxyvalerate (4HV) were obtained from each of the corresponding hydroxyfatty acids. Various copolyesters of those hydroxyfatty acids were also obtained when two of these hydroxyfatty acids were fed at equal amounts: cells fed with 3HB and 4HB accumulated a copolyester consisting of 88 mol% 3HB and 12 mol% 4HB and contributing to 68.7% of the cell dry weight. Cells fed with 3HB and 4HV accumulated a copolyester consisting of 94 mol% 3HB and 6 mol% 4HV and contributing to 64.0% of the cell dry weight. Cells fed with 3HB, 4HB, and 4HV accumulated a terpolyester consisting of 85 mol% 3HB, 13 mol% 4HB, and 2 mol% 4HV and contributing to 68.4% of the cell dry weight.

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