Recombineering-based redesign of bacterial genomes by adding, removing or editing large segments of genomic DNA is emerging as a powerful technique for expanding the range of functions that an organism can perform. Here, we describe a glyco-recoding strategy whereby major non-essential polysaccharide gene clusters in K-12 Escherichia coli are replaced with orthogonal glycosylation components for both biosynthesis of heterologous glycan structures and site-specific glycan conjugation to target proteins. Specifically, the native enterobacterial common antigen (ECA) and O-polysaccharide (O-PS) antigen loci were systematically replaced with ∼9-10 kbp of synthetic DNA encoding Campylobacter jejuni enzymes required for asparagine-linked (N-linked) protein glycosylation. Compared to E. coli cells carrying the same glycosylation machinery on extrachromosomal plasmids, glyco-recoded strains attached glycans to acceptor protein targets with equal or greater efficiency while exhibiting markedly better growth phenotypes and higher glycoprotein titers. Overall, our results define a convenient and reliable framework for bacterial glycome editing that provides a more stable route for chemical diversification of proteins in vivo and effectively expands the bacterial glycoengineering toolkit.
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