Levulinic acid (LA) is a building block alternative to fermentable sugars derived from cellulosic biomass. Among LA catabolic processes in Pseudomonas putida KT2440, ligation of coenzyme A (CoA) to LA by levulinyl-CoA synthetase (LvaE) is known to be an initial enzymatic step in LA metabolism. To identify the genes involved in the first step of LA metabolism in Pseudomonas citronellolis LA18T, RNA-seq-based comparative transcriptome analysis was carried out for LA18T cells during growth on LA and pyruvic acid. The two most highly upregulated genes with LA exhibited amino acid sequence homologies to cation acetate symporter and 5-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase from Pseudomonas spp. Potential LA metabolic genes (lva genes) in LA18T that clustered with these two genes and were homologous to lva genes in KT2440 were identified, including lvaE2 of LA18T, which exhibited 35% identity with lvaE of KT2440. Using Escherichia coli cells with the pCold™ expression system, LvaE2 was produced and investigated for its activity toward LA. High performance liquid chromatography analysis confirmed that crude extracts of E. coli cells expressing the lvaE2 gene could convert LA to levulinyl-CoA in the presence of both HS-CoA and ATP. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that LvaE2 and LvaE formed a cluster with medium-chain fatty acid CoA synthetase, but they fell on different branches. Superimposition of LvaE2 and LvaE homology-based model structures suggested that LvaE2 had a larger tunnel for accepting fatty acid substrates than LvaE. These results indicate that LvaE2 is a novel levulinyl-CoA synthetase.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology