4 years ago

A Synthetic Alternative to Canonical One-Carbon Metabolism

A Synthetic Alternative to Canonical One-Carbon Metabolism
Philippe Marlière, Madeleine Bouzon, Jean Weissenbach, Olivier Loreau, Nadia Perchat, Valérie Delmas, Frédéric Taran, Alain Perret
One-carbon metabolism is an ubiquitous metabolic pathway that encompasses the reactions transferring formyl-, hydroxymethyl- and methyl-groups bound to tetrahydrofolate for the synthesis of purine nucleotides, thymidylate, methionine and dehydropantoate, the precursor of coenzyme A. An alternative cyclic pathway was designed that substitutes 4-hydroxy-2-oxobutanoic acid (HOB), a compound absent from known metabolism, for the amino acids serine and glycine as one-carbon donors. It involves two novel reactions, the transamination of l-homoserine and the transfer of a one-carbon unit from HOB to tetrahydrofolate releasing pyruvate as coproduct. Since canonical reactions regenerate l-homoserine from pyruvate by carboxylation and subsequent reduction, every one-carbon moiety made available for anabolic reactions originates from CO2. The HOB-dependent pathway was established in an Escherichia coli auxotroph selected for prototrophy using long-term cultivation protocols. Genetic, metabolic and biochemical evidence support the emergence of a functional HOB-dependent one-carbon pathway achieved with the recruitment of the two enzymes l-homoserine transaminase and HOB-hydroxymethyltransferase and of HOB as an essential metabolic intermediate. Escherichia coli biochemical reprogramming was achieved by minimally altering canonical metabolism and leveraging on natural selection mechanisms, thereby launching the resulting strain on an evolutionary trajectory diverging from all known extant species.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acssynbio.7b00029

DOI: 10.1021/acssynbio.7b00029

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