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Microbiology. 2002 Apr;148(Pt 4):1003-13.

Metabolic engineering of lactic acid bacteria, the combined approach: kinetic modelling, metabolic control and experimental analysis.

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Wageningen Centre for Food Sciences and Food and Bioprocess Engineering Group, Wageningen University, PO Box 8129, 6700 EV Wageningen, The Netherlands.


Everyone who has ever tried to radically change metabolic fluxes knows that it is often harder to determine which enzymes have to be modified than it is to actually implement these changes. In the more traditional genetic engineering approaches 'bottle-necks' are pinpointed using qualitative, intuitive approaches, but the alleviation of suspected 'rate-limiting' steps has not often been successful. Here the authors demonstrate that a model of pyruvate distribution in Lactococcus lactis based on enzyme kinetics in combination with metabolic control analysis clearly indicates the key control points in the flux to acetoin and diacetyl, important flavour compounds. The model presented here (available at showed that the enzymes with the greatest effect on this flux resided outside the acetolactate synthase branch itself. Experiments confirmed the predictions of the model, i.e. knocking out lactate dehydrogenase and overexpressing NADH oxidase increased the flux through the acetolactate synthase branch from 0 to 75% of measured product formation rates.

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