Improving cellular malonyl-CoA level in Escherichia coli via metabolic engineering

Wenjuan Zha, Sheryl B. Rubin-Pitel, Zengyi Shao, Huimin Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Escherichia coli only maintains a small amount of cellular malonyl-CoA, impeding its utility for overproducing natural products such as polyketides and flavonoids. Here, we report the use of various metabolic engineering strategies to redirect the carbon flux inside E. coli to pathways responsible for the generation of malonyl-CoA. Overexpression of acetyl-CoA carboxylase (Acc) resulted in 3-fold increase in cellular malonyl-CoA concentration. More importantly, overexpression of Acc showed a synergistic effect with increased acetyl-CoA availability, which was achieved by deletion of competing pathways leading to the byproducts acetate and ethanol as well as overexpression of an acetate assimilation enzyme. These engineering efforts led to the creation of an E. coli strain with 15-fold elevated cellular malonyl-CoA level. To demonstrate its utility, this engineered E. coli strain was used to produce an important polyketide, phloroglucinol, and showed near 4-fold higher titer compared with wild-type E. coli, despite the toxicity of phloroglucinol to cell growth. This engineered E. coli strain with elevated cellular malonyl-CoA level should be highly useful for improved production of important natural products where the cellular malonyl-CoA level is rate-limiting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)192-198
Number of pages7
JournalMetabolic Engineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2009


  • Flavonoids
  • Malonyl-CoA
  • Metabolic engineering
  • Polyketides
  • Type III polyketide synthases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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