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Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2010 Mar;86(2):481-9. doi: 10.1007/s00253-009-2302-3. Epub 2009 Nov 4.

An efficient method for N-acetyl-D-neuraminic acid production using coupled bacterial cells with a safe temperature-induced system.

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State Key Laboratory of Microbial Technology, Shandong University, Jinan, 250100, People's Republic of China.


N-acetyl-D-neuraminic acid (Neu5Ac) is a precursor for producing many pharmaceutical drugs such as zanamivir which have been used in clinical trials to treat and prevent the infection with influenza virus, such as the avian influenza virus H5N1 and the current 2009 H1N1. Two recombinant Escherichia coli strains capable of expressing N-acetyl-D-glucosamine 2-epimerase and N-acetyl-D-neuraminic acid aldolase were constructed based on a highly efficient temperature-responsive expression system which is safe compared to chemical-induced systems and coupled in Neu5Ac production. Carbon sources were optimized for Neu5Ac production, and the concentration effects of carbon sources on the production were investigated. With 2,200 mM pyruvate as carbon source and substrate, 61.9 mM (19.1 g l(-1)) Neu5Ac was produced from 200 mM N-acetyl-D-glucosamine (GlcNAc) in 36 h by the coupled cells. Our Neu5Ac biosynthetic process is favorable compared with natural product extraction, chemical synthesis, or even many other biocatalysis processes.

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