Improved Tolerance of Escherichia coli to Propionic Acid by Overexpression of Sigma Factor RpoS
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Propionic acid (PA) is an economically important compound, but large-scale microbial production of PA confronts obstacle such as acid stress on microbial cells. Here, we show that overexpressing sigma factor RpoS improves the acid tolerance of Escherichia coli. Four genes including rpoS, fur, pgi and dnaK (encoding RNA polymerase sigma factor, ferric uptake regulator, phosphoglucoisomerase, and chaperone, respectively) were independently overexpressed in E. coli. The recombinant E. coli overexpressing rpoS showed the highest PA tolerance. This strain could grow in M9 medium at pH 4.62, whereas wild type E. coli survived only at pHs above 5.12. Moreover, in the shake-flask cultivation, the E. coli strain overexpressing rpoS grew faster than wild type. Notably, the minimum inhibitory concentration of PA for this recombinant strain was 7.81 mg/mL, which was 2-fold higher in comparison with wild type. Overall these results indicated that overexpression of sigma factor rpoS significantly enhanced E. coli tolerance to PA.
KeywordsEscherichia coli propionic acid rpoS pgi tolerance
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