Control of carbon flux to glutamate excretion in Klebsiella pneumoniae: the role of the indigenous plasmid and its encoded isocitrate dehydrogenase
Klebsiella pneumoniae (NCTC, CL687/80) harbors a large indigenous plasmid (pC3), which in addition to encoding for citrate utilization, proline synthesis and glutamate excretion, it uniquely carries the structural gene (icd); encoding isocitrate dehydrogenase (ICDH). Flux analysis revealed that ICDH, despite its role in the generation of NADPH required for glutamate dehydrogenase, is not rate-limiting (controlling) in central metabolism as evidenced by a negative flux control coefficient and an adverse effect of overexpression (14-fold) on glutamate excretion. More significantly, however, this paper presents, for the first time, clear evidence that the accumulation of glutamate and its subsequent excretion is associated with the C3 plasmid-encoded regulatory elements, which trigger a shift-down in the activity of α-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase, both in the K. pneumoniae parental strain as well as in the E. coli exconjugants strains. This finding opens the door for the exploitation of regulatory elements as a tool for manipulating flux in microbial cell factories.