Strain engineering to reduce acetate accumulation during microaerobic growth conditions in Escherichia coli.
Microaerobic (oxygen limited) conditions are advantageous for several industrial applications since a majority of the carbon atoms can be directed for synthesis of desired products. Oxygen limited conditions, however, can result in high levels of undesirable by-products such as acetate, which subsequently can have an impact on biomass and product yields. The molecular mechanisms involved in acetate accumulation under oxygen limited conditions are not well understood. Our results indicate that a majority of the genetic modifications known to decrease acetate under aerobic conditions results in similar or even higher acetate under oxygen limitation. Deletion of arcA, whose gene product is a global transcriptional regulator, was the only modification among those evaluated that significantly decreased acetate under both transient and prolonged oxygen limitation. Transcriptome results indicate that the arcA deletion results in an increased expression of the operon involving acs and actP (whose gene products are involved in acetate assimilation and uptake respectively) and some genes in the TCA cycle, thereby promoting increased acetate assimilation. These results provide useful cues for strain design for improved manufacturing of biopharmaceuticals under oxygen limited conditions. © 2017 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 34:303-314, 2018.