Metabolic control analysis of L-tryptophan producing Escherichia coli applying targeted perturbation with shikimate

Kristin Schoppel, Natalia Trachtmann, Fabian Mittermeier, Georg A. Sprenger, Dirk Weuster-Botz

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5 Scopus citations


L-tryptophan production from glycerol with Escherichia coli was analysed by perturbation studies and metabolic control analysis. The insertion of a non-natural shikimate transporter into the genome of an Escherichia coli L-tryptophan production strain enabled targeted perturbation within the product pathway with shikimate during parallelised short-term perturbation experiments with cells withdrawn from a 15 L fed-batch production process. Expression of the shikimate/H+-symporter gene (shiA) from Corynebacterium glutamicum did not alter process performance within the estimation error. Metabolic analyses and subsequent extensive data evaluation were performed based on the data of the parallel analysis reactors and the production process. Extracellular rates and intracellular metabolite concentrations displayed evident deflections in cell metabolism and particularly in chorismate biosynthesis due to the perturbations with shikimate. Intracellular flux distributions were estimated using a thermodynamics-based flux analysis method, which integrates thermodynamic constraints and intracellular metabolite concentrations to restrain the solution space. Feasible flux distributions, Gibbs reaction energies and concentration ranges were computed simultaneously for the genome-wide metabolic model, with minimum bias in relation to the direction of metabolic reactions. Metabolic control analysis was applied to estimate elasticities and flux control coefficients, predicting controlling sites for L-tryptophan biosynthesis. The addition of shikimate led to enhanced deviations in chorismate biosynthesis, revealing a so far not observed control of 3-dehydroquinate synthase on L-tryptophan formation. The relative expression of the identified target genes was analysed with RT-qPCR. Transcriptome analysis revealed disparities in gene expression and the localisation of target genes to further improve the microbial L-tryptophan producer by metabolic engineering.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2591-2613
Number of pages23
JournalBioprocess and Biosystems Engineering
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Escherichia coli
  • L-tryptophan
  • Metabolic control analysis
  • Shikimate
  • Thermodynamics-based flux analysis


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