Journal of Industrial Microbiology & Biotechnology

, Volume 43, Issue 12, pp 1659–1670 | Cite as

Production of acrylic acid and propionic acid by constructing a portion of the 3-hydroxypropionate/4-hydroxybutyrate cycle from Metallosphaera sedula in Escherichia coli

Metabolic Engineering and Synthetic Biology - Original Paper


Acrylic acid and propionic acid are important chemicals requiring affordable, renewable production solutions. Here, we metabolically engineered Escherichia coli with genes encoding components of the 3-hydroxypropionate/4-hydroxybutyrate cycle from Metallosphaera sedula for conversion of glucose to acrylic and propionic acids. To construct an acrylic acid-producing pathway in E. coli, heterologous expression of malonyl-CoA reductase (MCR), malonate semialdehyde reductase (MSR), 3-hydroxypropionyl-CoA synthetase (3HPCS), and 3-hydroxypropionyl-CoA dehydratase (3HPCD) from M. sedula was accompanied by overexpression of succinyl-CoA synthetase (SCS) from E. coli. The engineered strain produced 13.28 ± 0.12 mg/L of acrylic acid. To construct a propionic acid-producing pathway, the same five genes were expressed, with the addition of M. sedula acryloyl-CoA reductase (ACR). The engineered strain produced 1430 ± 30 mg/L of propionic acid. This approach can be expanded to synthesize many important organic chemicals, creating new opportunities for the production of chemicals by carbon dioxide fixation.


Acrylic acid Propionic acid Escherichia coli 3-Hydroxypropionate/4-hydroxybutyrate cycle Metallosphaera sedula 



This work was supported by grants from the 973 (2012CB721000, 2011CBA00800) and 863 programs (2012AA02A701) of the Ministry of Science and Technology of China, and by a grant from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31222002). The authors are grateful to Prof. Kristala Prather of Massachusetts Institute of Technology for providing the E. coli MG1655 ΔrecAΔendA (DE3) strain.


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Copyright information

© Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Combinatorial Biosynthesis and Drug Discovery (Wuhan University), Ministry of Education, Wuhan University School of Pharmaceutical SciencesWuhanPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Hubei Engineering Laboratory for Synthetic MicrobiologyWuhan Institute of BiotechnologyWuhanPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Hubei Provincial Cooperative Innovation Center of Industrial FermentationWuhanPeople’s Republic of China

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