Fermentative N-Methylanthranilate Production by Engineered Corynebacterium glutamicum

Tatjana Walter, Nour Al Medani, Arthur Burgardt, K. Cankar, Lenny Ferrer, Anastasia Kerbs, Jin-Ho Lee, Melanie Mindt, Joe Max Risse, Volker F. Wendisch*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


The N-functionalized amino acid N-methylanthranilate is an important precursor for bioactive compounds such as anticancer acridone alkaloids, the antinociceptive alkaloid O-isopropyl N-methylanthranilate, the flavor compound O-methyl-N-methylanthranilate, and as a building block for peptide-based drugs. Current chemical and biocatalytic synthetic routes to N-alkylated amino acids are often unprofitable and restricted to low yields or high costs through cofactor regeneration systems. Amino acid fermentation processes using the Gram-positive bacterium Corynebacterium glutamicum are operated industrially at the million tons per annum scale. Fermentative processes using C. glutamicum for N-alkylated amino acids based on an imine reductase have been developed, while N-alkylation of the aromatic amino acid anthranilate with S-adenosyl methionine as methyl-donor has not been described for this bacterium. After metabolic engineering for enhanced supply of anthranilate by channeling carbon flux into the shikimate pathway, preventing by-product formation and enhancing sugar uptake, heterologous expression of the gene anmt encoding anthranilate N-methyltransferase from Ruta graveolens resulted in production of N-methylanthranilate (NMA), which accumulated in the culture medium. Increased SAM regeneration by coexpression of the homologous adenosylhomocysteinase gene sahH improved N-methylanthranilate production. In a test bioreactor culture, the metabolically engineered C. glutamicum C1* strain produced NMA to a final titer of 0.5 g·L−1 with a volumetric productivity of 0.01 g·L−1·h−1 and a yield of 4.8 mg·g−1 glucose.
Original languageEnglish
Article number866
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2020


  • N-functionalized amines; N-methylanthranilate; Corynebacterium glutamicum; metabolic engineering; sustainable production of quinoline precursors; acridone; quinazoline alkaloid drugs


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