Enhancing itaconic acid production by Aspergillus terreus
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Aspergillus terreus is successfully used for industrial production of itaconic acid. The acid is formed from cis-aconitate, an intermediate of the tricarboxylic (TCA) cycle, by catalytic action of cis-aconitate decarboxylase. It could be assumed that strong anaplerotic reactions that replenish the pool of the TCA cycle intermediates would enhance the synthesis and excretion rate of itaconic acid. In the phylogenetic close relative Aspergillus niger, upregulated metabolic flux through glycolysis has been described that acted as a strong anaplerotic reaction. Deregulated glycolytic flux was caused by posttranslational modification of 6-phosphofructo-1-kinase (PFK1) that resulted in formation of a highly active, citrate inhibition-resistant shorter form of the enzyme. In order to avoid complex posttranslational modification, the native A. niger pfkA gene has been modified to encode for an active shorter PFK1 fragment. By the insertion of the modified A. niger pfkA genes into the A. terreus strain, increased specific productivities of itaconic acid and final yields were documented by transformants in respect to the parental strain. On the other hand, growth rate of all transformants remained suppressed which is due to the low initial pH value of the medium, one of the prerequisites for the accumulation of itaconic acid by A. terreus mycelium.
KeywordsAspergillus terreus Itaconic acid 6-Phosphofructo-1-kinase Posttranslational modification Primary metabolism Anaplerosis
This work was supported by grants of the EU Commission (project QLK3-CT-2002-02038) and project No. L4-4323 financed by the Slovenian Research Agency.
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