In the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, NADP(+)-specific isocitrate dehydrogenase (NADP(+)-ICDH) catalyzes oxidative decarboxylation of isocitric acid to form α-ketoglutaric acid with NADP(+) as a cofactor. We constructed an NADP(+)-ICDH gene (icdA)-overexpressing strain (OPI-1) using Aspergillus niger WU-2223L as a host and examined the effects of increase in NADP(+)-ICDH activity on citric acid production. Under citric acid-producing conditions with glucose as the carbon source, the amounts of citric acid produced and glucose consumed by OPI-1 for the 12-d cultivation period decreased by 18.7 and 10.5%, respectively, compared with those by WU-2223L. These results indicate that the amount of citric acid produced by A. niger can be altered with the NADP(+)-ICDH activity. Therefore, NADP(+)-ICDH is an important regulator of citric acid production in the TCA cycle of A. niger. Thus, we propose that the icdA gene is a potentially valuable tool for modulating citric acid production by metabolic engineering.
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