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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2002 Dec;68(12):5843-59.

Genealogy profiling through strain improvement by using metabolic network analysis: metabolic flux genealogy of several generations of lysine-producing corynebacteria.

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Biochemical Engineering Institute, Saarland University, Saarbruecken, Germany.


A comprehensive approach of metabolite balancing, (13)C tracer studies, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry, and isotopomer modeling was applied for comparative metabolic network analysis of a genealogy of five successive generations of lysine-producing Corynebacterium glutamicum. The five strains examined (C. glutamicum ATCC 13032, 13287, 21253, 21526, and 21543) were previously obtained by random mutagenesis and selection. Throughout the genealogy, the lysine yield in batch cultures increased markedly from 1.2 to 24.9% relative to the glucose uptake flux. Strain optimization was accompanied by significant changes in intracellular flux distributions. The relative pentose phosphate pathway (PPP) flux successively increased, clearly corresponding to the product yield. Moreover, the anaplerotic net flux increased almost twofold as a consequence of concerted regulation of C(3) carboxylation and C(4) decarboxylation fluxes to cover the increased demand for lysine formation; thus, the overall increase was a consequence of concerted regulation of C(3) carboxylation and C(4) decarboxylation fluxes. The relative flux through isocitrate dehydrogenase dropped from 82.7% in the wild type to 59.9% in the lysine-producing mutants. In contrast to the NADPH demand, which increased from 109 to 172% due to the increasing lysine yield, the overall NADPH supply remained constant between 185 and 196%, resulting in a decrease in the apparent NADPH excess through strain optimization. Extrapolated to industrial lysine producers, the NADPH supply might become a limiting factor. The relative contributions of PPP and the tricarboxylic acid cycle to NADPH generation changed markedly, indicating that C. glutamicum is able to maintain a constant supply of NADPH under completely different flux conditions. Statistical analysis by a Monte Carlo approach revealed high precision for the estimated fluxes, underlining the fact that the observed differences were clearly strain specific.

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