The Industrial Organism Corynebacterium glutamicum Requires Mycothiol as Antioxidant to Resist Against Oxidative Stress in Bioreactor Cultivations

Fabian Stefan Franz Hartmann, Lina Clermont, Quach Ngoc Tung, Haike Antelmann, Gerd Seibold*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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In aerobic environments, bacteria are exposed to reactive oxygen species (ROS). To avoid an excess of ROS, microorganisms are equipped with powerful enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants. Corynebacterium glutamicum, a widely used industrial platform organism, uses mycothiol (MSH) as major low molecular weight (LMW) thiol and non-enzymatic antioxidant. In aerobic bioreactor cultivations, C. glutamicum becomes exposed to oxygen concentrations surpassing the air saturation, which are supposed to constitute a challenge for the intracellular MSH redox balance. In this study, the role of MSH was investigated at different oxygen levels (pO2) in bioreactor cultivations in C. glutamicum. Despite the presence of other highly efficient antioxidant systems, such as catalase, the MSH deficient ΔmshC mutant was impaired in growth in bioreactor experiments performed at pO2 values of 30%. At a pO2 level of 20%, this growth defect was abolished, indicating a high susceptibility of the MSH-deficient mutant towards elevated oxygen concentrations. Bioreactor experiments with C. glutamicum expressing the Mrx1-roGFP2 redox biosensor revealed a strong oxidative shift in the MSH redox potential (EMSH) at pO2 values above 20%. This indicates that the LMW thiol MSH is an essential antioxidant to maintain the robustness and industrial performance of C. glutamicum during aerobic fermentation processes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number969
Issue number10
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Corynebacterium glutamicum
  • Oxidative stress
  • Mycothiol
  • Mrx1‐roGFP2
  • Redox potential


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