Gellan gum biosynthesis in Sphingomonas paucimobilis ATCC 31461: Genes, enzymes and exopolysaccharide production engineering
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The commercial gelling agent, gellan, is an extracellular polysaccharide (EPS) produced by Sphingomonas paucimobilis ATCC 31461. In recent years, significant progress in understanding the relationship between gellan structure and properties and elucidation of the biosynthesis and engineering of this recent product of biotechnology has been made. This review focuses on recent advances in this field. Emphasis is given to identification and characterization of genes and enzymes involved, or predicted to be involved, in the gellan biosynthetic pathway, at the level of synthesis of sugar-activated precursors, of the repeat unit assembly and of gellan polymerization and export. Identification of several genes, biochemical characterization of the encoded enzymes and elucidation of crucial steps of the gellan pathway indicate that possibilities now exist for exerting control over gellan production at any of the three levels of its biosynthesis. However, a better knowledge of the poorly understood steps and of the bottlenecks and regulation of the pathway, the characterization of the composition, structure and functional properties of gellan-like polymers produced either by the industrial strain under different culture conditions or by mutants are still required for eventual success of the metabolic engineering of gellan production. Journal of Industrial Microbiology & Biotechnology (2002) 29, 170–176 doi:10.1038/sj.jim.7000266
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