Introduction of plasmid pKW99, which coexpresses the deregulated 3-deoxy-D-arabino-heptulosonate 7-phosphate synthase and tryptophan-biosynthetic enzymes, into tryptophan-producing Corynebacterium glutamicumKY10894 resulted in a marked increase (54%) in yield of tryptophan production (43 g/liter), but incurred two problems. One was a decline in sugar consumption at the late stage of fermentation, and the other the loss of the plasmid in the absence of selective pressure. The retarded sugar assimilation was found to be attributed to the death of cells that arose from the detrimental action of indole, the last intermediate in the tryptophan pathway, accumulated as a by-product. A chain of these events simultaneously disappeared when serine, the other substrate of the final reaction by tryptophan synthase, was added. These results indicated that a limiting supply of serine was the cause of the decline in the sugar consumption. Thus, to increase carbon flux into serine, the gene for 3-phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase (PGD), the first enzyme in the serine pathway, was cloned from wild-type C. glutamicumATCC 31833 and joined onto pKW99 to generate pKW9901. Strain KY10894 transformed with pKW9901 favorably consumed sugar through fermentation with accumulating little indole. Furthermore, on the basis of the observation that serine in the medium was consumed rapidly by the recombinant cells, we developed a unique plasmid stabilization system composed of KY9218 (a PGD-deficient serine-requiring strain of KY10894) and pKW9901: In its combination, cells lacking the plasmid should not proliferate in the fermentation medium which does not contain serine. Even if selective pressure was not applied, the modified strain KY9218 with pKW9901 stably maintained the plasmid during fermentation and produced 50 g/liter of tryptophan in a 61% increased yield relative to strain KY10894.
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