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Metabolic engineering of glutamate production.

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Fermentation & Biotechnology Laboratories, Ajinomoto Co., Inc., 1-1 suzuki-cho, Kawasaki-ku, Kawasaki-shi, 210-8681 Japan.


Since the discovery of Corynebacterium glutamicum as an efficient glutamate-overproducing microorganism in 1957, the production of L-amino acids by the fermentative method has become one of the most important research-target of industrial microbiology. Several research groups have developed metabolic engineering principles for L-amino acid-producing C. glutamicum strains over the last four decades. The mechanism of L-glutamate-overproduction by the microorganism is very unique and interesting. L-Glutamate overproduction by this bacterium, a biotin auxotroph, is induced by a biotin limitation and suppressed by an excess of biotin. Addition of a surfactant or penicillin is known to induce L-glutamate overproduction under excess biotin. After the development of the general molecular biology tools such as cloning vectors and DNA transfer technique, genes encoding biosynthetic enzymes were isolated. With those genes and tools, recombinant DNA technology can be applied in analysis of biosynthetic pathways and strain construction of C. glutamicum. In this review, key points of the L-glutamate biosynthetic pathways are summarized and the recent studies about triggering mechanism of L-glutamate overproduction by C. glutamicum are introduced. Then the metabolic flux analysis of L-glutamate overproduction is explored.

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