Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 86, Issue 2, pp 481–489 | Cite as

An efficient method for N-acetyl-d-neuraminic acid production using coupled bacterial cells with a safe temperature-induced system

  • Yinan Zhang
  • Fei Tao
  • Miaofen Du
  • Cuiqing Ma
  • Jianhua Qiu
  • Lichuan Gu
  • Xiaofei He
  • Ping Xu
Biotechnological Products and Process Engineering


N-Acetyl-d-neuraminic acid (Neu5Ac) is a precursor for producing many pharmaceutical drugs such as zanamivir which have been used in clinical trials to treat and prevent the infection with influenza virus, such as the avian influenza virus H5N1 and the current 2009 H1N1. Two recombinant Escherichia coli strains capable of expressing N-acetyl-d-glucosamine 2-epimerase and N-acetyl-d-neuraminic acid aldolase were constructed based on a highly efficient temperature-responsive expression system which is safe compared to chemical-induced systems and coupled in Neu5Ac production. Carbon sources were optimized for Neu5Ac production, and the concentration effects of carbon sources on the production were investigated. With 2,200 mM pyruvate as carbon source and substrate, 61.9 mM (19.1 g l−1) Neu5Ac was produced from 200 mM N-acetyl-d-glucosamine (GlcNAc) in 36 h by the coupled cells. Our Neu5Ac biosynthetic process is favorable compared with natural product extraction, chemical synthesis, or even many other biocatalysis processes.


N-Acetyl-d-glucosamine 2-epimerase N-Acetyl-d-neuraminic acid aldolase N-Acetyl-d-neuraminic acid production Epimerization Temperature-induced expression system 



The work was supported in part by the grants from the State Major Basic Research Development Program (China; numbers 2007CB714303 and 2007CB707803). The authors would also like to acknowledge the partial financial supports from National Natural Science Foundation of China. Vector pBV220 was a kind gift from Prof. G. Wang.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Microbial TechnologyShandong UniversityJinanPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.MOE Key Laboratory of Microbial Metabolism and School of Life Sciences and BiotechnologyShanghai Jiao Tong UniversityShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China

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