Enhanced trehalose production improves growth of Escherichia coli under osmotic stress

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2005 Jul;71(7):3761-9. doi: 10.1128/AEM.71.7.3761-3769.2005.


The biosynthesis of trehalose has been previously shown to serve as an important osmoprotectant and stress protectant in Escherichia coli. Our results indicate that overproduction of trehalose (integrated lacI-Ptac-otsBA) above the level produced by the native regulatory system can be used to increase the growth of E. coli in M9-2% glucose medium at 37 degrees C to 41 degrees C and to increase growth at 37 degrees C in the presence of a variety of osmotic-stress agents (hexose sugars, inorganic salts, and pyruvate). Smaller improvements were noted with xylose and some fermentation products (ethanol and pyruvate). Based on these results, overproduction of trehalose may be a useful trait to include in biocatalysts engineered for commodity chemicals.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Escherichia coli K12 / genetics
  • Escherichia coli K12 / growth & development*
  • Escherichia coli K12 / physiology
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / genetics
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial*
  • Glucosyltransferases / genetics
  • Glucosyltransferases / metabolism
  • Heat-Shock Response*
  • Hot Temperature
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Osmotic Pressure
  • Trehalose / metabolism*


  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • Trehalose
  • Glucosyltransferases
  • trehalose-6-phosphate synthase