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Concept: Pseudomonas putida


BACKGROUND: Pseudomonas putida KT2440 is able to synthesize large amounts of medium-chain-length polyhydroxyalkanoates (mcl-PHAs). To reduce the substrate cost, which represents nearly 50% of the total PHA production cost, xylose, a hemicellulose derivate, was tested as the growth carbon source in an engineered P. putida KT2440 strain. RESULTS: The genes encoding xylose isomerase (XylA) and xylulokinase (XylB) from Escherichia coli W3110 were introduced into P. putida KT2440. The recombinant KT2440 exhibited a XylA activity of 1.47 U and a XylB activity of 0.97 U when grown on a defined medium supplemented with xylose. The cells reached a maximum specific growth rate of 0.24 h-1 and a final cell dry weight (CDW) of 2.5 g L-1 with a maximal yield of 0.5 g CDW g-1 xylose. Since no mcl-PHA was accumulated from xylose, mcl-PHA production can be controlled by the addition of fatty acids leading to tailor-made PHA compositions. Sequential feeding strategy was applied using xylose as the growth substrate and octanoic acid as the precursor for mcl-PHA production. In this way, up to 20% w w-1 of mcl-PHA was obtained. A yield of 0.37 g mcl-PHA per g octanoic acid was achieved under employed conditions. CONCLUSIONS: Sequential feeding of relatively cheap carbohydrates and expensive fatty acids is a practical way to achieve more cost-effective mcl-PHA production. This study is the first reported attempt to produce mcl-PHA by using xylose as the growth substrate. Further process optimizations to achieve higher cell density and higher productivity of mcl-PHA should be investigated. These scientific exercises will undoubtedly contribute to the economic feasibility of mcl-PHA production from renewable feedstock.

Concepts: Protein, Nutrition, Fatty acid, Escherichia coli, Fatty acid metabolism, Pseudomonas, Pseudomonas putida, Polyhydroxyalkanoates


BACKGROUND: Signal transduction plays a fundamental role in the understanding of cellular physiology. The bacterialphosphotransferase system (PTS) together with the PEP/pyruvate node in central metabolism represents asignaling unit that acts as a sensory element and measures the activity of the central metabolism.Pseudomonas putida possesses two PTS branches, the C-branch (PTSFru) and a second branch (PTSNtr),which communicate with each other by phosphate exchange. Recent experimental results showed a cross talkbetween the two branches. However, the functional role of the crosstalk remains open. RESULTS: A mathematical model was set up to describe the available data of the state of phosphorylation of PtsN, one ofthe PTS proteins, for different environmental conditions and different strain variants. Additionally, data fromflux balance analysis was used to determine some of the kinetic parameters of the involved reactions. Based onthe calculated and estimated parameters, the flux distribution during growth of the wild type strain on fructosecould be determined. CONCLUSION: Our calculations show that during growth of the wild type strain on the PTS substrate fructose, the major partof the phosphoryl groups is provided by the second branch of the PTS. This theoretical finding indicates a newrole of the second branch of the PTS and will serve as a basis for further experimental studies.

Concepts: Signal transduction, Adenosine triphosphate, Enzyme, Mathematics, Phosphate, Cell signaling, Phosphorylation, Pseudomonas putida


BACKGROUND: Pseudomonas putida exerts a filamentous phenotype in response to environmental stress conditions that are encountered during its natural life cycle. This study assessed whether P. putida filamentation could confer survival advantages. Filamentation of P. putida was induced through culturing at low shaking speed and was compared to culturing in high shaking speed conditions, after which whole proteomic analysis and stress exposure assays were performed. RESULTS: P. putida grown in filament-inducing conditions showed increased resistance to heat and saline stressors compared to non-filamented cultures. Proteomic analysis showed a significant metabolic change and a pronounced induction of the heat shock protein IbpA and recombinase RecA in filament-inducing conditions. Our data further indicated that the associated heat shock resistance, but not filamentation, was dependent of RecA. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides insights into the altered metabolism of P. putida in filament-inducing conditions, and indicates that the formation of filaments could potentially be utilized by P. putida as a survival strategy in its hostile, recurrently changing habitat.

Concepts: Protein, Metabolism, Proteomics, Pseudomonas, Heat shock protein, Pseudomonadaceae, Pseudomonas putida, Incandescent light bulb


In this study, the degradation of tetradecyltrimethylammonium bromide (TTAB) by freely suspended and alginate-entrapped cells from the bacteria Pseudomonas putida (P. putida) A ATCC 12633 was investigated in batch cultures. The optimal conditions to prepare beads for achieving a higher TTAB degradation rate were investigated by changing the concentration of sodium alginate, pH, temperature, agitation rate and initial concentration of TTAB. The results show that the optimal embedding conditions of calcium alginate beads are 4 % w/v of sodium alginate content and 2 × 10(8) cfu ml(-1) of P. putida A ATCC 12633 cells that had been previously grown in rich medium. The optimal degradation process was carried out in pH 7.4 buffered medium at 30 °C on a rotary shaker at 100 rpm. After 48 h of incubation, the free cells degraded 26 mg l(-1) of TTAB from an initial concentration of 50 mg l(-1) TTAB. When the initial TTAB concentration was increased to 100 mg l(-1), the free cells lost their degrading activity and were no longer viable. In contrast, when the cells were immobilized on alginate, they degraded 75 % of the TTAB after 24 h of incubation from an initial concentration of 330 mg l(-1) of TTAB. The immobilized cells can be stored at 4 °C for 25 days without loss of viability and can be reused without losing degrading capacity for three cycles.

Concepts: Cell wall, Pseudomonas, Surfactant, Seawater, Solution, Pseudomonadales, Pseudomonadaceae, Pseudomonas putida


Pseudomonas putida KT2440 has evolved a tightly regulated system for metabolizing glycerol implying a prolonged growth lag-phase. We have learnt that this fact can be avoided by the addition of small amounts of some growth precursors. The addition of 1 mM octanoic acid as co-feeder completely eliminated the lag-phase, resulting in an improvement, in terms of invested time, of both growth and polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) accumulation. To investigate this phenomenon, we have followed co-metabolic approaches combined with mutations of the specific and global regulatory networks that connect glycerol catabolism and PHA synthesis. By using mutant strains in metabolic genes from the PHA and tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycles, we have demonstrated that the co-feeding effect is independent of PHA accumulation, but driven on active glyoxylate shunt and Entner-Doudoroff (ED) routes. These findings suggested that the effect of octanoate on glycerol metabolism could rely, either on a global activation of the cell energy state, or on the generation of specific metabolites or cofactors needed for the activation of glycerol metabolism. Our results addressed GlpR as the key factor controlling the efficient utilization of glycerol as growth precursor in P. putida KT2440. Accordingly, a glpR knockout mutant of P. putida KT2440 showed an elimination of the lag-phase when cultured on glycerol in the absence of co-feeder. Besides, the production of PHA in this strain was increased near twofold, resulting in a higher final yield in terms of PHA accumulation. The repressor activity of the GlpR protein over the glp genes in the absence of glycerol was finally demonstrated by qRT-PCR. This work contributed to unravel the physiological causes of the long lag-phase produced by glycerol in the model strain P. putida KT2440 that hinders its use as carbon source in biotechnological applications for generating valuable products.

Concepts: Protein, Bacteria, Evolution, Amino acid, Metabolism, Pseudomonas, Pseudomonas putida, Polyhydroxyalkanoates


The Crc protein of Pseudomonas inhibits the expression of genes involved in the transport and assimilation of a number of non-preferred carbon sources when preferred substrates are available, thus coordinating carbon metabolism. Crc acts by binding to target mRNAs, inhibiting their translation. In Pseudomonas putida, the amount of free Crc available is controlled by two sRNAs, CrcY and CrcZ, which bind to and sequester Crc. The levels of these sRNAs vary according to metabolic conditions. Pseudomonas putida grows optimally at 30°C, but can also thrive at 10°C. The present work shows that when cells grow exponentially at 10°C, the repressive effect of Crc on many genes is significantly reduced compared with that seen at 30°C. Total Crc levels were similar at both temperatures, but those of CrcZ and CrcY were significantly higher at 10°C. Therefore, Crc-mediated repression may, at least in part, be reduced at 10°C because the fraction of Crc protein sequestered by CrcZ and CrcY is larger, reducing the amount of free Crc available to bind its targets. This may help P. putida to face cold stress. The results reported might help understanding the behaviour of this bacterium in bioremediation or rhizoremediation strategies at low temperatures.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Gene expression, Bacteria, Metabolism, Enzyme, Organism, Pseudomonas putida


LapF is a large secreted protein involved in microcolony formation and biofilm maturation in Pseudomonas putida. Its C-terminal domain shows the characteristics of proteins secreted through a type I secretion system and includes a predicted calcium binding motif. We provide experimental evidence of specific binding of Ca(2+) to the purified C-terminal domain of LapF (CLapF). Calcium promotes the formation of large aggregates, which disappear in the presence of the calcium chelator EGTA. Immunolocalization of LapF also shows the tendency of this protein to accumulate in vivo in certain extracellular regions. These findings, along with results showing that calcium influences biofilm formation, lead us to propose a model in which P. putida cells interact with each other via LapF in a calcium-dependent manner during the development of biofilms.

Concepts: Protein, Protein structure, Cell, Bacteria, Secretion, Endoplasmic reticulum, C-terminus, Pseudomonas putida


In this study, we investigated the metabolism of ethylene glycol in the Pseudomonas putida strains KT2440 and JM37 by employing growth and bioconversion experiments, directed mutagenesis, and proteome analysis. We found that strain JM37 grew rapidly with ethylene glycol as a sole source of carbon and energy, while strain KT2440 did not grow within 2 days of incubation under the same conditions. However, bioconversion experiments revealed metabolism of ethylene glycol by both strains, with the temporal accumulation of glycolic acid and glyoxylic acid for strain KT2440. This accumulation was further increased by targeted mutagenesis. The key enzymes and specific differences between the two strains were identified by comparative proteomics. In P. putida JM37, tartronate semialdehyde synthase (Gcl), malate synthase (GlcB), and isocitrate lyase (AceA) were found to be induced in the presence of ethylene glycol or glyoxylic acid. Under the same conditions, strain KT2440 showed induction of AceA only. Despite this difference, the two strains were found to use similar periplasmic dehydrogenases for the initial oxidation step of ethylene glycol, namely, the two redundant pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ)-dependent enzymes PedE and PedH. From these results we constructed a new pathway for the metabolism of ethylene glycol in P. putida. Furthermore, we conclude that Pseudomonas putida might serve as a useful platform from which to establish a whole-cell biocatalyst for the production of glyoxylic acid from ethylene glycol.

Concepts: Protein, Alcohol, Carbon dioxide, Enzyme, Ethylene glycol, Site-directed mutagenesis, Pseudomonas putida, Lyase


Here, we present systems metabolic engineering driven by in-silico modeling to tailor Pseudomonas putida for synthesis of medium chain length PHAs on glucose. Using physiological properties of the parent wild type as constraints, elementary flux mode analysis of a large-scale model of the metabolism of P. putida was used to predict genetic targets for strain engineering. Among a set of priority ranked targets, glucose dehydrogenase (encoded by gcd) was predicted as most promising deletion target. The mutant P. putida Δgcd, generated on basis of the computational design, exhibited 100% increased PHA accumulation as compared to the parent wild type, maintained a high specific growth rate and exhibited an almost unaffected gene expression profile, which excluded detrimental side effects of the modification. A second mutant strain, P. putida Δpgl, that lacked 6-phosphogluconolactonase, exhibited a substantially decreased PHA synthesis, as was also predicted by the model. The production potential of P. putida Δgcd was assessed in batch bioreactors. The novel strain showed an increase of the PHA yield (+80%), the PHA titer (+100%) and cellular PHA content (+50%) and revealed almost unaffected growth and diminished by-product formation. It was thus found superior in all relevant criteria towards industrial production. Beyond the contribution to more efficient PHA production processes at reduced costs that might replace petrochemical plastics in the future, the study illustrates the power of computational prediction to tailor microbial strains for enhanced biosynthesis of added-value compounds.

Concepts: Gene, Bacteria, Prediction, Futurology, Future, Pseudomonas, Pseudomonas putida, Polyhydroxyalkanoates


Environmental microbes oscillate between feast and famine and need to carefully manage utilization, storage and conversion of reserve products to exploitable sources of carbon and energy. Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) are storage polymers that serve bacteria as sources of food materials under physiological conditions of carbon demand. In order to obtain insights into the role of PHA depolymerase (PhaZ) and its relationship to a PHA polymerase (PhaC2) in the carbon management activity of Pseudomonas putida strain U, we created a polymerase hyperexpression strain and a depolymerase knockout mutant of this strain, and examined their synthesis of PHA and expression of their PHA genes. This study revealed that hyperexpression of PhaC2 led to the accumulation of higher amounts of PHA (44%wt) than in the wild-type strain (24%wt) after 24 h of cultivation, which then returned to wild-type levels by 48 h, as a result of elevated depolymerization. The phaZ mutant, however, accumulated higher levels of PHA than the parental strain (62%wt), which were maintained for at least 96 h. Transcriptional analysis of the pha cluster by RT-PCR revealed that PHA operon proteins, including depolymerase, are expressed from the beginning of the growth phase. Hyperexpression of the PhaC2 polymerase was accompanied by an increase in the expression of the PhaZ depolymerase and a decrease in expression of another PHA polymerase, PhaC1. This suggests tight regulatory coupling of PHA polymerase and depolymerase activities that act in synergy, and in concert with other PHA proteins, to provide dynamic PHA granule synthesis and remodelling that rapidly and sensitively respond to changes in availability of carbon and the physiological-metabolic needs of the cell, to ensure optimal carbon resource management.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Gene expression, Bacteria, Transcription, Polymer, Pseudomonas putida, Polyhydroxyalkanoates