Systems Metabolic Engineering of Escherichia coli Improves Coconversion of Lignocellulose-Derived Sugars

Biotechnol J. 2019 Sep;14(9):e1800441. doi: 10.1002/biot.201800441. Epub 2019 Aug 5.


Currently, microbial conversion of lignocellulose-derived glucose and xylose to biofuels is hindered by the fact that most microbes (including Escherichia coli [E. coli], Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and Zymomonas mobilis) preferentially consume glucose first and consume xylose slowly after glucose is depleted in lignocellulosic hydrolysates. In this study, E. coli strains are developed that simultaneously utilize glucose and xylose in lignocellulosic biomass hydrolysate using genome-scale models and adaptive laboratory evolution. E. coli strains are designed and constructed that coutilize glucose and xylose and adaptively evolve them to improve glucose and xylose utilization. Whole-genome resequencing of the evolved strains find relevant mutations in metabolic and regulatory genes and the mutations' involvement in sugar coutilization is investigated. The developed strains show significantly improved coconversion of sugars in lignocellulosic biomass hydrolysates and provide a promising platform for producing next-generation biofuels.

Keywords: adaptive laboratory evolution; constraint-based modeling; metabolic engineering; sugar coutilization.

MeSH terms

  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism*
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / genetics
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / metabolism
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Lignin / metabolism
  • Metabolic Engineering / methods*
  • Xylose / metabolism


  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • lignocellulose
  • Lignin
  • Xylose
  • Glucose