Technological watch

Engineering Escherichia coli asymmetry distribution?based synthetic consortium for shikimate production

Microbial consortia constitute a promising tool for achieving high?value chemical bio?production. However, customizing the consortium ratio remains challenging. Herein, an asymmetry distribution?based synthetic consortium (ADSC) was developed to switch cell phenotypes using shikimate synthesis for proof of concept. First, the cell pole?organizing protein PopZ was screened as a mediator of asymmetric protein distribution in Escherichia coli. The ADSC was then constructed to incorporate PopZ?mediated asymmetry distribution and a TetR?based transcription repression switch to achieve the dynamical control of microbial population ratio. Finally, the ADSC was used to decouple cell growth from shikimate synthesis by effectively coordinating the ratio of growing cells and production cells at the consortium level, thereby increasing shikimate titer to 30.1 g/L in the 7.5?L bioreactor with a minimal medium. This titer was further improved to 82.5 g/L when using rich medium fermentation. Our results illustrate a novel approach to control consortium structure through ADSC?mediated regulation, highlighting its potential as an efficient strategy for controlling metabolic state in microbes.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Publication date: 18/08/2022



This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870292.