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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1997 Jul;63(7):2695-701.

Production of succinic acid through overexpression of NAD(+)-dependent malic enzyme in an Escherichia coli mutant.

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Environmental Research Division, Argonne National Laboratory, Illinois 60439, USA.


NAD(+)-dependent malic enzyme was cloned from the Escherichia coli genome by PCR based on the published partial sequence of the gene. The enzyme was overexpressed and purified to near homogeneity in two chromatographic steps and was analyzed kinetically in the forward and reverse directions. The Km values determined in the presence of saturating cofactor and manganese ion were 0.26 mM for malate (physiological direction) and 16 mM for pyruvate (reverse direction). When malic enzyme was induced under appropriate culture conditions in a strain of E. coli that was unable to ferment glucose and accumulated pyruvate, fermentative metabolism of glucose was restored. Succinic acid was the major fermentation product formed. When this fermentation was performed in the presence of hydrogen, the yield of succinic acid increased. The constructed pathway represents an alternative metabolic route for the fermentative production of dicarboxylic acids from renewable feedstocks.

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