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Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2012 Mar;93(6):2447-53. doi: 10.1007/s00253-011-3747-8. Epub 2011 Dec 13.

Biological synthesis of quercetin 3-O-N-acetylglucosamine conjugate using engineered Escherichia coli expressing UGT78D2.

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Department of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Bio/Molecular Informatics Center, Konkuk University, Seoul, South Korea.


Biotransformation of flavonoids using Escherichia coli harboring nucleotide sugar-dependent uridine diphosphate-dependent glycosyltransferases (UGTs) commonly results in the production of a glucose conjugate because most UGTs are specific for UDP-glucose. The Arabidopsis enzyme AtUGT78D2 prefers UDP-glucose as a sugar donor and quercetin as a sugar acceptor. However, in vitro, AtUGT78D2 could use UDP-N-acetylglucosamine as a sugar donor, and whole cell biotransformation of quercetin using E. coli harboring AtUGT78D2 produced quercetin 3-O-N-acetylglucosamine. In order to increase the production of quercetin 3-O-N-acetylglucosamine via biotransformation, two E. coli mutant strains deleted in phosphoglucomutase (pgm) or glucose-1-phosphate uridylyltransferase (galU) were created. The galU mutant produced up to threefold more quercetin 3-O-N-acetylglucosamine than wild type, resulting in the production of 380-mg/l quercetin 3-O-N-acetylglucosamine and a negligible amount of quercetin 3-O-glucoside. These results show that construction of bacterial strains for the synthesis of unnatural flavonoid glycosides is possible through rational selection of the nucleotide sugar-dependent glycosyltransferase and engineering of the nucleotide sugar metabolic pathway in the host strain.

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