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Methylglyoxal is a highly toxic metabolite that can be produced in all living organisms. Methylglyoxal was artificially elevated by removal of the tpiA gene from a growth optimized Escherichia coli strain. The initial response to elevated methylglyoxal and its toxicity was characterized, and detoxification mechanisms were studied using adaptive laboratory evolution. We found that: 1) Multi-omics analysis revealed biological consequences of methylglyoxal toxicity, which included attack on macromolecules including DNA and RNA and perturbation of nucleotide levels; 2) Counter-intuitive cross-talk between carbon starvation and inorganic phosphate signalling was revealed in the tpiA deletion strain that required mutations in inorganic phosphate signalling mechanisms to alleviate; and 3) The split flux through lower glycolysis depleted glycolytic intermediates requiring a host of synchronized and coordinated mutations in non-intuitive network locations in order to re-adjust the metabolic flux map to achieve optimal growth. Such mutations included a systematic inactivation of the Phosphotransferase System (PTS) and alterations in cell wall biosynthesis enzyme activity. This study demonstrated that deletion of major metabolic genes followed by ALE was a productive approach to gain novel insight into the systems biology underlying optimal phenotypic states.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMetabolic Engineering
Pages (from-to)82-93
Publication statusPublished - 2018
CitationsWeb of Science® Times Cited: No match on DOI

    Research areas

  • Adaptive laboratory evolution, E. coli, Multi-omics data integration, Mutation analysis, Systems biology, tpiA gene knockout
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ID: 148846236