Use of modular, synthetic scaffolds for improved production of glucaric acid in engineered E. coli

Tae Seok Moon, John E. Dueber, Eric Shiue, Kristala L.Jones Prather

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

250 Scopus citations


The field of metabolic engineering has the potential to produce a wide variety of chemicals in both an inexpensive and ecologically-friendly manner. Heterologous expression of novel combinations of enzymes promises to provide new or improved synthetic routes towards a substantially increased diversity of small molecules. Recently, we constructed a synthetic pathway to produce d-glucaric acid, a molecule that has been deemed a "top-value added chemical" from biomass, starting from glucose. Limiting flux through the pathway is the second recombinant step, catalyzed by myo-inositol oxygenase (MIOX), whose activity is strongly influenced by the concentration of the myo-inositol substrate. To synthetically increase the effective concentration of myo-inositol, polypeptide scaffolds were built from protein-protein interaction domains to co-localize all three pathway enzymes in a designable complex as previously described (Dueber et al., 2009). Glucaric acid titer was found to be strongly affected by the number of scaffold interaction domains targeting upstream Ino1 enzymes, whereas the effect of increased numbers of MIOX-targeted domains was much less significant. We determined that the scaffolds directly increased the specific MIOX activity and that glucaric acid titers were strongly correlated with MIOX activity. Overall, we observed an approximately 5-fold improvement in product titers over the non-scaffolded control, and a 50% improvement over the previously reported highest titers. These results further validate the utility of these synthetic scaffolds as a tool for metabolic engineering.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-305
Number of pages8
JournalMetabolic Engineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2010


  • Colocalization
  • Glucaric acid
  • Metabolic pathway engineering
  • Modularity
  • Scaffold
  • Synthetic biology


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