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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2010 Aug;76(16):5383-9. doi: 10.1128/AEM.01077-10. Epub 2010 Jun 25.

Phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase as the sole anaplerotic enzyme in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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  • 1Department of Biotechnology, Delft University of Technology and Kluyver Centre for Genomics of Industrial Fermentation, Julianalaan 67, Delft, Netherlands.


Pyruvate carboxylase is the sole anaplerotic enzyme in glucose-grown cultures of wild-type Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Pyruvate carboxylase-negative (Pyc(-)) S. cerevisiae strains cannot grow on glucose unless media are supplemented with C(4) compounds, such as aspartic acid. In several succinate-producing prokaryotes, phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK) fulfills this anaplerotic role. However, the S. cerevisiae PEPCK encoded by PCK1 is repressed by glucose and is considered to have a purely decarboxylating and gluconeogenic function. This study investigates whether and under which conditions PEPCK can replace the anaplerotic function of pyruvate carboxylase in S. cerevisiae. Pyc(-) S. cerevisiae strains constitutively overexpressing the PEPCK either from S. cerevisiae or from Actinobacillus succinogenes did not grow on glucose as the sole carbon source. However, evolutionary engineering yielded mutants able to grow on glucose as the sole carbon source at a maximum specific growth rate of ca. 0.14 h(-1), one-half that of the (pyruvate carboxylase-positive) reference strain grown under the same conditions. Growth was dependent on high carbon dioxide concentrations, indicating that the reaction catalyzed by PEPCK operates near thermodynamic equilibrium. Analysis and reverse engineering of two independently evolved strains showed that single point mutations in pyruvate kinase, which competes with PEPCK for phosphoenolpyruvate, were sufficient to enable the use of PEPCK as the sole anaplerotic enzyme. The PEPCK reaction produces one ATP per carboxylation event, whereas the original route through pyruvate kinase and pyruvate carboxylase is ATP neutral. This increased ATP yield may prove crucial for engineering of efficient and low-cost anaerobic production of C(4) dicarboxylic acids in S. cerevisiae.

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