Cofactor Engineering Redirects Secondary Metabolism and Enhances Erythromycin Production in Saccharopolyspora erythraea

Xiaobo Li, Jun Chen, Joakim Mark Andersen, Ju Chu, Peter Ruhdal Jensen*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Saccharopolyspora erythraea is used for industrial erythromycin production. To explore the physiological role of intracellular energy state in metabolic regulation by S. erythraea, we initially overexpressed the F1 part of the endogenous F1F0-ATPase in the high yielding erythromycin producing strain E3. The F1-ATPase expression resulted in lower [ATP]/[ADP] ratios, which was accompanied by a strong increase in the production of a reddish pigment and a decreased erythromycin production. Subsequent transcriptional analysis revealed that the lower intracellular [ATP]/[ADP] ratios exerted a pleotropic regulation on the metabolism of S. erythraea. The lower [ATP]/[ADP] ratios induced physiological changes to restore the energy balance, mainly via pathways that tend to produce ATP or regenerate NADH. The F1-ATPase overexpression strain exhibited a state of redox stress, which was correlated to an alteration of electron transport at the branch of the terminal oxidases, and S. erythraea channeled the enhanced glycolytic flux toward a reddish pigment in order to reduce NADH formation. The production of erythromycin was decreased, which is in accordance with the net ATP requirement and the excess NADH formed through this pathway. Partial growth inhibition by apramycin increased the intracellular [ATP]/[ADP] ratios and demonstrated a positive correlation between [ATP]/[ADP] ratios and erythromycin synthesis. Finally, overexpression of the entire F1F0-ATPase complex resulted in 28% enhanced erythromycin production and markedly reduced pigment synthesis in E3. The work illustrates a feasible strategy to optimize the distribution of fluxes in secondary metabolism.
Original languageEnglish
JournalACS Synthetic Biology
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)655-670
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Dyes and pigments
  • Peptides and proteins
  • Fluxes
  • Genetrics metabolism


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