Global transcription and metabolic flux analysis of Escherichia coli in glucose-limited fed-batch cultivations

Lemuth, K.; Hardiman, T.; Winter, S.; Pfeiffer, D.; Keller, M.A.; Lange, S.; Reuss, M.; Schmid, R.D.; Siemann-Herzberg, M.

Applied and Environmental Microbiology 74(22): 7002-7015


ISSN/ISBN: 1098-5336
PMID: 18806003
DOI: 10.1128/aem.01327-08
Accession: 053421410

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A time series of whole-genome transcription profiling of Escherichia coli K-12 W3110 was performed during a carbon-limited fed-batch process. The application of a constant feed rate led to the identification of a dynamic sequence of diverse carbon limitation responses (e.g., the hunger response) and at the same time provided a global view of how cellular and extracellular resources are used: the synthesis of high-affinity transporters guarantees maximal glucose influx, thereby preserving the phosphoenolpyruvate pool, and energy-dependent chemotaxis is reduced in order to provide a more economic "work mode." sigma(S)-mediated stress and starvation responses were both found to be of only minor relevance. Thus, the experimental setup provided access to the hunger response and enabled the differentiation of the hunger response from the general starvation response. Our previous topological model of the global regulation of the E. coli central carbon metabolism through the crp, cra, and relA/spoT modulons is supported by correlating transcript levels and metabolic fluxes and can now be extended. The substrate is extensively oxidized in the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle to enhance energy generation. However, the general rate of oxidative decarboxylation within the pentose phosphate pathway and the TCA cycle is restricted to a minimum. Fine regulation of the carbon flux through these pathways supplies sufficient precursors for biosyntheses. The pools of at least three precursors are probably regulated through activation of the (phosphoenolpyruvate-)glyoxylate shunt. The present work shows that detailed understanding of the genetic regulation of bacterial metabolism provides useful insights for manipulating the carbon flux in technical production processes.