3 Biotech

, 8:269 | Cite as

Engineering membrane morphology and manipulating synthesis for increased lycopene accumulation in Escherichia coli cell factories

  • Tao Wu
  • Lijun Ye
  • Dongdong Zhao
  • Siwei Li
  • Qingyan Li
  • Bolin Zhang
  • Changhao Bi
Original Article


The goal of this work was to improve the lycopene storage capacity of the E. coli membrane by engineering both morphological and biosynthetic aspects. First, Almgs, a protein from Acholeplasma laidlawii that is involved in membrane bending is overexpressed to expand the storage space for lycopene, which resulted in a 12% increase of specific lycopene production. Second, several genes related to the membrane-synthesis pathway in E. coli, including plsb, plsc, and dgka, were also overexpressed, which led to a further 13% increase. In addition, membrane separation and component analysis confirmed that the increased amount of lycopene was mainly accumulated within the cell membranes. Finally, by integrating both aforementioned modification strategies, a synergistic effect could be observed which caused a 1.32-fold increase of specific lycopene production, from the 27.5 mg/g of the parent to 36.4 mg/g DCW in the engineered strain. This work demonstrates that membrane engineering is a feasible strategy for increasing the production and accumulation of lycopene in E. coli.


Membrane morphology Membrane synthesis Lycopene Production Escherichia coli 



This research was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31522002), National High Technology Research and Development Program of China (2015AA020202), Tianjin Key Technology R&D program of Tianjin Municipal Science and Technology Commission (14ZCZDSY00067), and Novo Nordisk-Chinese Academy of Sciences (NN-CAS) Research Fund (NN-CAS-2015-2).

Author Contributions

WT performed research, analyzed data, designed research, and wrote the paper; YL, ZD, and LS designed research and analyzed data; LQ provided the bacteria; BC and ZB designed research, analyzed data, and wrote the paper. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Supplementary material

13205_2018_1298_MOESM1_ESM.docx (327 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 326 KB)
13205_2018_1298_MOESM2_ESM.docx (641 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 641 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Biological Sciences and TechnologyBeijing Forestry UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Tianjin Institute of Industrial BiotechnologyChinese Academy of SciencesTianjinPeople’s Republic of China

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