Genetic modification of Bacillus subtilis for production of D-chiro-inositol, an investigational drug candidate for treatment of type 2 diabetes and polycystic ovary syndrome

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2006 Feb;72(2):1310-5. doi: 10.1128/AEM.72.2.1310-1315.2006.


D-chiro-inositol (DCI) is a drug candidate for the treatment of type 2 diabetes and polycystic ovary syndrome, since it improves the efficiency with which the body uses insulin and also promotes ovulation. Here, we report genetic modification of Bacillus subtilis for production of DCI from myo-inositol (MI). The B. subtilis iolABCDEFGHIJ operon encodes enzymes for the multiple steps of the MI catabolic pathway. In the first and second steps, MI is converted to 2-keto-MI (2KMI) by IolG and then to 3D-(3,5/4)-trihydroxycyclohexane-1,2-dione by IolE. In this study, we identified iolI encoding inosose isomerase, which converts 2KMI to 1-keto-D-chiro-inositol (1KDCI), and found that IolG reduces 1KDCI to DCI. Inactivation of iolE in a mutant constitutively expressing the iol operon blocked the MI catabolic pathway to accumulate 2KMI, which was converted to DCI via the activity of IolI and IolG. The mutant was able to convert at least 6% of input MI in the culture medium to DCI.

MeSH terms

  • Bacillus subtilis / genetics*
  • Bacillus subtilis / metabolism*
  • Base Sequence
  • Biotransformation
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy
  • Drugs, Investigational
  • Female
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Humans
  • Inositol / biosynthesis*
  • Inositol / chemistry
  • Inositol / pharmacology
  • Mutation
  • Operon
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Stereoisomerism
  • Therapies, Investigational


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Drugs, Investigational
  • Inositol