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Microb Cell Fact. 2011 May 18;10:36. doi: 10.1186/1475-2859-10-36.

Improved triacylglycerol production in Acinetobacter baylyi ADP1 by metabolic engineering.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry and Bioengineering, Tampere University of Technology, Finland.



Triacylglycerols are used in various purposes including food applications, cosmetics, oleochemicals and biofuels. Currently the main sources for triacylglycerol are vegetable oils, and microbial triacylglycerol has been suggested as an alternative for these. Due to the low production rates and yields of microbial processes, the role of metabolic engineering has become more significant. As a robust model organism for genetic and metabolic studies, and for the natural capability to produce triacylglycerol, Acinetobacter baylyi ADP1 serves as an excellent organism for modelling the effects of metabolic engineering for energy molecule biosynthesis.


Beneficial gene deletions regarding triacylglycerol production were screened by computational means exploiting the metabolic model of ADP1. Four deletions, acr1, poxB, dgkA, and a triacylglycerol lipase were chosen to be studied experimentally both separately and concurrently by constructing a knock-out strain (MT) with three of the deletions. Improvements in triacylglycerol production were observed: the strain MT produced 5.6 fold more triacylglycerol (mg/g cell dry weight) compared to the wild type strain, and the proportion of triacylglycerol in total lipids was increased by 8-fold.


In silico predictions of beneficial gene deletions were verified experimentally. The chosen single and multiple gene deletions affected beneficially the natural triacylglycerol metabolism of A. baylyi ADP1. This study demonstrates the importance of single gene deletions in triacylglycerol metabolism, and proposes Acinetobacter sp. ADP1 as a model system for bioenergetic studies regarding metabolic engineering.

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