Escherichia coli W shows fast, highly oxidative sucrose metabolism and low acetate formation
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Sugarcane is the most efficient large-scale crop capable of supplying sufficient carbon substrate, in the form of sucrose, needed during fermentative feedstock production. However, sucrose metabolism in Escherichia coli is not well understood because the two most common strains, E. coli K-12 and B, do not grow on sucrose. Here, using a sucrose utilizing strain, E. coli W, we undertake an in-depth comparison of sucrose and glucose metabolism including growth kinetics, metabolite profiling, microarray-based transcriptome analysis, labelling-based proteomic analysis and 13C-fluxomics. While E. coli W grew comparably well on sucrose and glucose integration of the omics, datasets showed that during growth on each carbon source, metabolism was distinct. The metabolism was generally derepressed on sucrose, and significant flux rearrangements were observed in central carbon metabolism.These included a reduction in the flux of the oxidative pentose phosphate pathway branch, an increase in the tricarboxylic acid cycle flux and a reduction in the glyoxylate shunt flux due to the dephosphorylation of isocitrate dehydrogenase. But unlike growth on other sugars that induce cAMP-dependent Crp regulation, the phosphoenol-pyruvate-glyoxylate cycle was not active on sucrose. Lower acetate accumulation was also observed in sucrose compared to glucose cultures. This was linked to induction of the acetate catabolic genes actP and acs and independent of the glyoxylic shunt. Overall, the cells stayed highly oxidative. In summary, sucrose metabolism was fast, efficient and led to low acetate accumulation making it an ideal carbon source for industrial fermentation with E. coli W.
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