Increasing cellular fitness and product yields in Pseudomonas putida through an engineered phosphoketolase shunt

Lyon Bruinsma, Maria Martin-Pascual, Kesi Kurnia, Marieken Tack, Simon Hendriks, Richard van Kranenburg, Vitor A.P. Martins dos Santos*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Pseudomonas putida has received increasing interest as a cell factory due to its remarkable features such as fast growth, a versatile and robust metabolism, an extensive genetic toolbox and its high tolerance to oxidative stress and toxic compounds. This interest is driven by the need to improve microbial performance to a level that enables biologically possible processes to become economically feasible, thereby fostering the transition from an oil-based economy to a more sustainable bio-based one. To this end, one of the current strategies is to maximize the product-substrate yield of an aerobic biocatalyst such as P. putida during growth on glycolytic carbon sources, such as glycerol and xylose. We demonstrate that this can be achieved by implementing the phosphoketolase shunt, through which pyruvate decarboxylation is prevented, and thus carbon loss is minimized. Results: In this study, we introduced the phosphoketolase shunt in the metabolism of P. putida KT2440. To maximize the effect of this pathway, we first tested and selected a phosphoketolase (Xfpk) enzyme with high activity in P. putida. Results of the enzymatic assays revealed that the most efficient Xfpk was the one isolated from Bifidobacterium breve. Using this enzyme, we improved the P. putida growth rate on glycerol and xylose by 44 and 167%, respectively, as well as the biomass yield quantified by OD600 by 50 and 30%, respectively. Finally, we demonstrated the impact on product formation and achieved a 38.5% increase in mevalonate and a 25.9% increase in flaviolin yield from glycerol. A similar effect was observed on the mevalonate-xylose and flaviolin-xylose yields, which increased by 48.7 and 49.4%, respectively. Conclusions: Pseudomonas putida with the implemented Xfpk shunt grew faster, reached a higher final OD600nm and provided better product-substrate yields than the wild type. By reducing the pyruvate decarboxylation flux, we significantly improved the performance of this important workhorse for industrial applications. This work encompasses the first steps towards full implementation of the non-oxidative glycolysis (NOG) or the glycolysis alternative high carbon yield cycle (GATCHYC), in which a substrate is converted into products without CO2 loss These enhanced properties of P. putida will be crucial for its subsequent use in a range of industrial processes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14
Number of pages9
JournalMicrobial Cell Factories
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2023


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