Section 12
Chapter 11,234

Quantitative analysis of Penicillium chrysogenum Wis54-1255 transformants overexpressing the penicillin biosynthetic genes

Theilgaard, H.; van Den Berg, M.; Mulder, C.; Bovenberg, R.; Nielsen, J.

Biotechnology and Bioengineering 72(4): 379-388


ISSN/ISBN: 0006-3592
PMID: 11180058
DOI: 10.1002/1097-0290(20000220)72:4<379::aid-bit1000>3.0.co;2-5
Accession: 011233834

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The low penicillin-producing, single gene copy strain Wis54-1255 was used to study the effect of overexpressing the penicillin biosynthetic genes in Penicillium chrysogenum. Transformants of Wis54-1255 were obtained with the amdS expression-cassette using the four combinations: pcbAB, pcbC, pcbC-penDE, and pcbAB-pcbC-penDE of the three penicillin biosynthetic genes. Transformants showing an increased penicillin production were investigated during steady-state continuous cultivations with glucose as the growth-limiting substrate. The transformants were characterized with respect to specific penicillin productivity, the activity of the two pathway enzymes delta-(L-alpha-aminoadipyl)-L-cysteinyl-D-valine synthetase (ACVS) and isopenicillin N synthetase (IPNS) and the intracellular concentration of the metabolites: delta-(L-alpha-aminoadipyl)-L-cysteinyl-D-valine (ACV), bis-delta-(L-alpha-aminoadipyl)-L-cysteinyl-D-valine (bisACV), isopenicillin N (IPN), glutathione (GSH), and glutathione disulphide (GSSG). Transformants with the whole gene cluster amplified showed the largest increase in specific penicillin productivity (r(p))-124% and 176%, respectively, whereas transformation with the pcbC-penDE gene fragment resulted in a decrease in r(p) of 9% relative to Wis54-1255. A marked increase in r(p) is clearly correlated with a balanced amplification of both the ACVS and IPNS activity or a large amplification of either enzyme activity. The increased capacity of a single enzyme occurs surprisingly only in the transformants where all the three biosynthetic genes are overexpressed but is not found within the group of pcbAB or pcbC transformants. The indication of the pcbAB and pcbC genes being closely regulated in fungi might explain why high-yielding strains of P. chrysogenum have been found to contain amplifications of a large region including the whole penicillin gene cluster and not single gene amplifications. Measurements of the total ACV concentration showed a large span of variability, which reflected the individual status of enzyme overexpression and activity found in each strain. The ratio ACV:bisACV remained constant, also at high ACV concentrations, indicating no limitation in the capacity of the thioredoxin-thioredoxin reductase (TR) system, which is assumed to keep the pathway intermediate LLD-ACV in its reduced state. The total GSH pool was at a constant level of approx. 5.7 mM in all cultivations.

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