A metabolic reconstruction of Lactobacillus reuteri JCM 1112 and analysis of its potential as a cell factory

Thordis Kristjansdottir, Elleke Fenna Bosma, Filipe Branco Dos Santos, Emre Özdemir, Markus J. Herrgård, Lucas França, Bruno Ferreira, Alex Toftgaard Nielsen, Steinn Gudmundsson*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background: Lactobacillus reuteri is a heterofermentative Lactic Acid Bacterium (LAB) that is commonly used for food fermentations and probiotic purposes. Due to its robust properties, it is also increasingly considered for use as a cell factory. It produces several industrially important compounds such as 1,3-propanediol and reuterin natively, but for cell factory purposes, developing improved strategies for engineering and fermentation optimization is crucial. Genome-scale metabolic models can be highly beneficial in guiding rational metabolic engineering. Reconstructing a reliable and a quantitatively accurate metabolic model requires extensive manual curation and incorporation of experimental data. Results: A genome-scale metabolic model of L. reuteri JCM 1112T was reconstructed and the resulting model, Lreuteri_530, was validated and tested with experimental data. Several knowledge gaps in the metabolism were identified and resolved during this process, including presence/absence of glycolytic genes. Flux distribution between the two glycolytic pathways, the phosphoketolase and Embden-Meyerhof-Parnas pathways, varies considerably between LAB species and strains. As these pathways result in different energy yields, it is important to include strain-specific utilization of these pathways in the model. We determined experimentally that the Embden-Meyerhof-Parnas pathway carried at most 7% of the total glycolytic flux. Predicted growth rates from Lreuteri_530 were in good agreement with experimentally determined values. To further validate the prediction accuracy of Lreuteri_530, the predicted effects of glycerol addition and adhE gene knock-out, which results in impaired ethanol production, were compared to in vivo data. Examination of both growth rates and uptake- and secretion rates of the main metabolites in central metabolism demonstrated that the model was able to accurately predict the experimentally observed effects. Lastly, the potential of L. reuteri as a cell factory was investigated, resulting in a number of general metabolic engineering strategies. Conclusion: We have constructed a manually curated genome-scale metabolic model of L. reuteri JCM 1112T that has been experimentally parameterized and validated and can accurately predict metabolic behavior of this important platform cell factory.

Original languageEnglish
Article number186
JournalMicrobial Cell Factories
Issue number1
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Cell factory
  • Genome-scale metabolic model
  • Lactobacillus reuteri

Cite this

Kristjansdottir, T., Bosma, E. F., Branco Dos Santos, F., Özdemir, E., Herrgård, M. J., França, L., Ferreira, B., Toftgaard Nielsen, A., & Gudmundsson, S. (2019). A metabolic reconstruction of Lactobacillus reuteri JCM 1112 and analysis of its potential as a cell factory. Microbial Cell Factories, 18(1), [186]. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12934-019-1229-3