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J Ind Microbiol Biotechnol. 2002 Mar;28(3):127-33.

Application of metabolic engineering to improve both the production and use of biotech indigo.

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Genencor International, Palo Alto, CA 94304-1013, USA.


A fermentation process was developed for production of indigo from glucose using recombinant Escherichia coli. This was achieved by modifying the tryptophan pathway to cause high-level indole production and adding the Pseudomonas putida genes encoding naphthalene dioxygenase (NDO). In comparison to a tryptophan-over-producing strain, the first indigo-producing strain made less than half of the expected amount of indigo. Severe inactivation of the first enzyme of aromatic biosynthesis, 3-deoxy-D-arabino-heptulosonate 7-phosphate (DAHP) synthase (the aroGfbr gene product), was observed in cells collected from indigo fermentations. Subsequent in vitro experiments revealed that DAHP synthase was inactivated by exposure to the spontaneous chemical conversion of indoxyl to indigo. Indigo production was thereafter improved by increasing the gene dosage of aroGfbr or by increasing substrate availability to DAHP synthase in vivo by either amplifying the tktA (transketolase) gene or inactivating both isozymes of pyruvate kinase. By combining all three strategies for enhancing DAHP formation in the cell, a 60% increase in indigo production was achieved. Metabolic engineering was then further applied to eliminate a byproduct of the spontaneous conversion of indoxyl to indigo, thereby solving a serious problem with the use of bio-indigo in the final denim dyeing application.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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