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Microorganisms for the production of adipic acid and other compounds

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Microorganisms for the production of adipic acid and other compounds


The invention provides a non-naturally occurring microbial organism having an adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam pathway. The microbial organism contains at least one exogenous nucleic acid encoding an enzyme in the respective adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam pathway. The invention additionally provides a method for producing adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam. The method can include culturing an adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam producing microbial organism, where the microbial organism expresses at least one exogenous nucleic acid encoding an adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam pathway enzyme in a sufficient amount to produce the respective product, under conditions and for a sufficient period of time to produce adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam.

Browse recent Genomatica, Inc. patents - San Diego, CA, US
Inventors: Anthony P. Burgard, Priti Pharkya, Robin E. Osterhout
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120264179 - Class: 435121 (USPTO) - 10/18/12 - Class 435 
Chemistry: Molecular Biology And Microbiology > Micro-organism, Tissue Cell Culture Or Enzyme Using Process To Synthesize A Desired Chemical Compound Or Composition >Preparing Heterocyclic Carbon Compound Having Only O, N, S, Se, Or Te As Ring Hetero Atoms >Nitrogen As Only Ring Hetero Atom



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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120264179, Microorganisms for the production of adipic acid and other compounds.

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This application is a continuation of U.S. application Ser. No. 13/288,699, filed Nov. 3, 2011, which is a continuation of U.S. application Ser. No. 13/088,256, filed Apr. 15, 2011, now U.S. Pat. No. 8,062,871, issued Nov. 22, 2011, which is a continuation of U.S. application Ser. No. 12/875,084, filed Sep. 2, 2010, now U.S. Pat. No. 8,088,607, issued Jan. 3, 2012, which is a continuation of U.S. application Ser. No. 12/413,355, filed Mar. 27, 2009, now U.S. Pat. No. 7,799,545, issued Sep. 21, 2010, which claims the benefit of priority of U.S. Provisional Ser. No. 61/040,059, filed Mar. 27, 2008, each of which the entire contents are incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to biosynthetic processes, and more specifically to organisms having adipic acid, 6-aminocaproic acid and caprolactam biosynthetic capability.

Adipic acid, a dicarboxylic acid, with molecular weight of 146.14, is a compound of commercial significance. Its major use is to produce nylon 6,6, a linear polyamide made by condensing adipic acid with hexamethylene diamine that is primarily employed for manufacturing different kinds of fibers. Other uses of adipic acid include its use in plasticizers, unsaturated polyesters, and polyester polyols. Additional uses include for production of polyurethane, lubricant components, and as a food ingredient as a flavorant and gelling aid.

Historically, adipic acid was prepared from various fats using oxidation. The current commercial processes for adipic acid synthesis rely on the oxidation of KA oil, a mixture of cyclohexanone, the ketone or K component, and cyclohexanol, the alcohol or A component, or of pure cyclohexanol using an excess of strong nitric acid. There are several variations of this theme which differ in the routes for production of KA or cyclohexanol. For example, phenol is an alternative raw material in KA oil production, and the process for the synthesis of adipic acid from phenol has been described. The other versions of this process tend to use oxidizing agents other than nitric acid, such as hydrogen peroxide, air or oxygen.

Caprolactam is an organic compound which is a lactam of 6-aminohexanoic acid (ε-aminohexanoic acid, aminocaproic acid). It can alternatively be considered cyclic amide of caproic acid. The primary industrial use of caprolactam is as a monomer in the production of nylon-6. Most of the caprolactam is synthesised from cyclohexanone via an oximation process using hydroxylammonium sulfate followed by catalytic rearrangement using the Beckmann rearrangement process step.

Thus, there exists a need for alternative methods for effectively producing commercial quantities of compounds such as adipic acid and carpolactam. The present invention satisfies this need and provides related advantages as well.

SUMMARY

OF INVENTION

The invention provides a non-naturally occurring microbial organism having an adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam pathway. The microbial organism contains at least one exogenous nucleic acid encoding an enzyme in the respective adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam pathway. The invention additionally provides a method for producing adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam. The method can include culturing an adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam producing microbial organism, where the microbial organism expresses at least one exogenous nucleic acid encoding an adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam pathway enzyme in a sufficient amount to produce the respective product, under conditions and for a sufficient period of time to produce adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows an exemplary pathway for adipate degradation in the peroxisome of Penicillium chrysogenum.

FIG. 2 shows an exemplary pathway for adipate formation via a reverse degradation pathway. Several options are provided for the final conversion of adipyl-CoA to adipate.

FIG. 3 shows an exemplary pathway for adipate formation via the 3-oxoadipate pathway.

FIG. 4 show the similar enzyme chemistries of the last three steps of the 3-oxoadipate pathway for adipate synthesis and the reductive TCA cycle.

FIG. 5 shows an exemplary pathway for synthesis of adipic acid from glucose via cis,cis-muconic acid. Biosynthetic intermediates (abbreviations): D-erythrose 4-phosphate (E4P), phosphoenolpyruvic acid (PEP), 3-deoxy-D-arabinoheptulosonic acid 7-phosphate (DAHP), 3-dehydroquinic acid (DHQ), 3-dehydroshikimic acid (DHS), protocatechuic acid (PCA). Enzymes (encoding genes) or reaction conditions: (a) DAHP synthase (aroFFBR), (b) 3-dehydroquinate synthase (aroB), (c) 3-dehydroquinate dehydratase (aroD), (d) DHS dehydratase (aroZ), (e) protocatechuate decarboxylase (aroY), (f) catechol 1,2-dioxygenase (catA), (g) 10% Pt/C, H2, 3400 kPa, 25° C. Figure taken from Niu et al., Biotechnol. Prog. 18:201-211 (2002)).

FIG. 6 shows an exemplary pathway for adipate synthesis via alpha-ketoadipate using alpha-ketoglutarate as a starting point.

FIG. 7 shows an exemplary pathway for synthesis of adipate using lysine as a starting point.

FIG. 8 shows an exemplary caprolactam synthesis pathway using adipyl-CoA as a starting point.

FIG. 9 shows exemplary adipate synthesis pathways using alpha-ketoadipate as a starting point.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to the design and production of cells and organisms having biosynthetic production capabilities for adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam. The results described herein indicate that metabolic pathways can be designed and recombinantly engineered to achieve the biosynthesis of adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam in Escherichia coli and other cells or organisms. Biosynthetic production of adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid and caprolactam can be confirmed by construction of strains having the designed metabolic genotype. These metabolically engineered cells or organisms also can be subjected to adaptive evolution to further augment adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam biosynthesis, including under conditions approaching theoretical maximum growth.

As disclosed herein, a number of metabolic pathways for the production of adipate, 6-aminocaproate, and caprolactam are described. Two routes, the reverse adipate degradation pathway and the 3-oxoadipate pathway, were found to be beneficial with respect to (i) the adipate yields (92% molar yield on glucose), (ii) the lack of oxygen requirement for adipate synthesis, (iii) the associated energetics, and (iv) the theoretical capability to produce adipate as the sole fermentation product. Metabolic pathways for adipate production that pass through α-ketoadipate or lysine are also described but are lower yielding and require aeration for maximum production. A pathway for producing either or both of 6-aminocaproate and caprolactam from adipyl-CoA, a precursor in the reverse degradation pathway, is also disclosed herein.

As disclosed herein, a number of exemplary pathways for biosynthesis of adipate are described. One exemplary pathway involves adipate synthesis via a route that relies on the reversibility of adipate degradation as described in organisms such as P. chrysogenum (see Examples I and II). A second exemplary pathway entails the formation of 3-oxoadipate followed by its reduction, dehydration and again reduction to form adipate (see Examples III and IV). The adipate yield using either of these two pathways is 0.92 moles per mole glucose consumed. The uptake of oxygen is not required for attaining these theoretical maximum yields, and the energetics under anaerobic conditions are favorable for growth and product secretion. A method for producing adipate from glucose-derived cis,cis-muconic acid was described previously (Frost et al., U.S. Pat. No. 5,487,987, issued Jan. 30, 1996) (see Example V). Advantages of the embodiments disclosed herein over this previously described method are discussed. Metabolic pathways for adipate production that pass through α-ketoadipate (Example VI) or lysine (Example VII) precursors are lower yielding and require aeration for maximum production. A pathway for producing either or both of 6-aminocaproate and caprolactam from adipyl-CoA, a precursor in the reverse degradation pathway, is described (see Example VIII and IX). Additional pathways for producing adipate are described in Examples X and XI. Exemplary genes and enzymes required for constructing microbes with these capabilities are described as well as methods for cloning and transformation, monitoring product formation, and using the engineered microorganisms for production.

As disclosed herein, six different pathways for adipic acid synthesis using glucose/sucrose as a carbon substrate are described. For all maximum yield calculations, the missing reactions in a given pathway were added to the E. coli stoichiometric network in SimPheny that is similar to the one described previously (Reed et al., Genome Biol. 4:R54 (2003)). Adipate is a charged molecule under physiological conditions and was assumed to require energy in the form of a proton-based symport system to be secreted out of the network. Such a transport system is thermodynamically feasible if the fermentations are carried out at neutral or near-neutral pH. Low pH adipic acid formation would require an ATP-dependant export mechanism, for example, the ABC system as opposed to proton symport. The reactions in the pathways and methods of implementation of these pathways are described in Examples I-XI.

As used herein, the term “non-naturally occurring” when used in reference to a microbial organism or microorganism of the invention is intended to mean that the microbial organism has at least one genetic alteration not normally found in a naturally occurring strain of the referenced species, including wild-type strains of the referenced species. Genetic alterations include, for example, modifications introducing expressible nucleic acids encoding metabolic polypeptides, other nucleic acid additions, nucleic acid deletions and/or other functional disruption of the microbial genetic material. Such modifications include, for example, coding regions and functional fragments thereof, for heterologous, homologous or both heterologous and homologous polypeptides for the referenced species. Additional modifications include, for example, non-coding regulatory regions in which the modifications alter expression of a gene or operon. Exemplary metabolic polypeptides include enzymes within an adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam biosynthetic pathway.

A metabolic modification refers to a biochemical reaction that is altered from its naturally occurring state. Therefore, non-naturally occurring microorganisms can have genetic modifications to nucleic acids encoding metabolic polypeptides or, functional fragments thereof. Exemplary metabolic modifications are disclosed herein.

As used herein, the term “isolated” when used in reference to a microbial organism is intended to mean an organism that is substantially free of at least one component as the referenced microbial organism is found in nature. The term includes a microbial organism that is removed from some or all components as it is found in its natural environment. The term also includes a microbial organism that is removed from some or all components as the microbial organism is found in non-naturally occurring environments. Therefore, an isolated microbial organism is partly or completely separated from other substances as it is found in nature or as it is grown, stored or subsisted in non-naturally occurring environments. Specific examples of isolated microbial organisms include partially pure microbes, substantially pure microbes and microbes cultured in a medium that is non-naturally occurring.

As used herein, the terms “microbial,” “microbial organism” or “microorganism” is intended to mean any organism that exists as a microscopic cell that is included within the domains of archaea, bacteria or eukarya. Therefore, the term is intended to encompass prokaryotic or eukaryotic cells or organisms having a microscopic size and includes bacteria, archaea and eubacteria of all species as well as eukaryotic microorganisms such as yeast and fungi. The term also includes cell cultures of any species that can be cultured for the production of a biochemical.

As used herein, the term “CoA” or “coenzyme A” is intended to mean an organic cofactor or prosthetic group (nonprotein portion of an enzyme) whose presence is required for the activity of many enzymes (the apoenzyme) to form an active enzyme system. Coenzyme A functions in certain condensing enzymes, acts in acetyl or other acyl group transfer and in fatty acid synthesis and oxidation, pyruvate oxidation and in other acetylation.

As used herein, “adipate,” having the chemical formula —OOC—(CH2)4—COO— (see FIG. 2) (IUPAC name hexanedioate), is the ionized form of adipic acid (IUPAC name hexanedioic acid), and it is understood that adipate and adipic acid can be used interchangeably throughout to refer to the compound in any of its neutral or ionized forms, including any salt forms thereof. It is understood by those skilled understand that the specific form will depend on the pH.

As used herein, “6-aminocaproate,” having the chemical formula —OOC—(CH2)5—NH2 (see FIG. 8), is the ionized form of 6-aminocaproic acid (IUPAC name 6-aminohexanoic acid), and it is understood that 6-aminocaproate and 6-aminocaproic acid can be used interchangeably throughout to refer to the compound in any of its neutral or ionized forms, including any salt forms thereof. It is understood by those skilled understand that the specific form will depend on the pH.

As used herein, “caprolactam” (IUPAC name azepan-2-one) is a lactam of 6-aminohexanoic acid (see FIG. 8).

As used herein, the term “substantially anaerobic” when used in reference to a culture or growth condition is intended to mean that the amount of oxygen is less than about 10% of saturation for dissolved oxygen in liquid media. The term also is intended to include sealed chambers of liquid or solid medium maintained with an atmosphere of less than about 1% oxygen.

“Exogenous” as it is used herein is intended to mean that the referenced molecule or the referenced activity is introduced into the host microbial organism. The molecule can be introduced, for example, by introduction of an encoding nucleic acid into the host genetic material such as by integration into a host chromosome or as non-chromosomal genetic material such as a plasmid. Therefore, the term as it is used in reference to expression of an encoding nucleic acid refers to introduction of the encoding nucleic acid in an expressible form into the microbial organism. When used in reference to a biosynthetic activity, the term refers to an activity that is introduced into the host reference organism. The source can be, for example, a homologous or heterologous encoding nucleic acid that expresses the referenced activity following introduction into the host microbial organism. Therefore, the term “endogenous” refers to a referenced molecule or activity that is present in the host. Similarly, the term when used in reference to expression of an encoding nucleic acid refers to expression of an encoding nucleic acid contained within the microbial organism. The term “heterologous” refers to a molecule or activity derived from a source other than the referenced species whereas “homologous” refers to a molecule or activity derived from the host microbial organism. Accordingly, exogenous expression of an encoding nucleic acid of the invention can utilize either or both a heterologous or homologous encoding nucleic acid.

The non-naturally occurring microbal organisms of the invention can contain stable genetic alterations, which refers to microorganisms that can be cultured for greater than five generations without loss of the alteration. Generally, stable genetic alterations include modifications that persist greater than 10 generations, particularly stable modifications will persist more than about 25 generations, and more particularly, stable genetic modifications will be greater than 50 generations, including indefinitely.

Those skilled in the art will understand that the genetic alterations, including metabolic modifications exemplified herein, are described with reference to a suitable host organism such as E. coli and their corresponding metabolic reactions or a suitable source organism for desired genetic material such as genes for a desired metabolic pathway. However, given the complete genome sequencing of a wide variety of organisms and the high level of skill in the area of genomics, those skilled in the art will readily be able to apply the teachings and guidance provided herein to essentially all other organisms. For example, the E. coli metabolic alterations exemplified herein can readily be applied to other species by incorporating the same or analogous encoding nucleic acid from species other than the referenced species. Such genetic alterations include, for example, genetic alterations of species homologs, in general, and in particular, orthologs, paralogs or nonorthologous gene displacements.

An ortholog is a gene or genes that are related by vertical descent and are responsible for substantially the same or identical functions in different organisms. For example, mouse epoxide hydrolase and human epoxide hydrolase can be considered orthologs for the biological function of hydrolysis of epoxides. Genes are related by vertical descent when, for example, they share sequence similarity of sufficient amount to indicate they are homologous, or related by evolution from a common ancestor. Genes can also be considered orthologs if they share three-dimensional structure but not necessarily sequence similarity, of a sufficient amount to indicate that they have evolved from a common ancestor to the extent that the primary sequence similarity is not identifiable. Genes that are orthologous can encode proteins with sequence similarity of about 25% to 100% amino acid sequence identity. Genes encoding proteins sharing an amino acid similarity less that 25% can also be considered to have arisen by vertical descent if their three-dimensional structure also shows similarities. Members of the serine protease family of enzymes, including tissue plasminogen activator and elastase, are considered to have arisen by vertical descent from a common ancestor.

Orthologs include genes or their encoded gene products that through, for example, evolution, have diverged in structure or overall activity. For example, where one species encodes a gene product exhibiting two functions and where such functions have been separated into distinct genes in a second species, the three genes and their corresponding products are considered to be orthologs. For the production of a biochemical product, those skilled in the art will understand that the orthologous gene harboring the metabolic activity to be introduced or disrupted is to be chosen for construction of the non-naturally occurring microorganism. An example of orthologs exhibiting separable activities is where distinct activities have been separated into distinct gene products between two or more species or within a single species. A specific example is the separation of elastase proteolysis and plasminogen proteolysis, two types of serine protease activity, into distinct molecules as plasminogen activator and elastase. A second example is the separation of mycoplasma 5′-3′ exonuclease and Drosophila DNA polymerase III activity. The DNA polymerase from the first species can be considered an ortholog to either or both of the exonuclease or the polymerase from the second species and vice versa.

In contrast, paralogs are homologs related by, for example, duplication followed by evolutionary divergence and have similar or common, but not identical functions. Paralogs can originate or derive from, for example, the same species or from a different species. For example, microsomal epoxide hydrolase (epoxide hydrolase I) and soluble epoxide hydrolase (epoxide hydrolase II) can be considered paralogs because they represent two distinct enzymes, co-evolved from a common ancestor, that catalyze distinct reactions and have distinct functions in the same species. Paralogs are proteins from the same species with significant sequence similarity to each other suggesting that they are homologous, or related through co-evolution from a common ancestor. Groups of paralogous protein families include HipA homologs, luciferase genes, peptidases, and others.

A nonorthologous gene displacement is a nonorthologous gene from one species that can substitute for a referenced gene function in a different species. Substitution includes, for example, being able to perform substantially the same or a similar function in the species of origin compared to the referenced function in the different species. Although generally, a nonorthologous gene displacement will be identifiable as structurally related to a known gene encoding the referenced function, less structurally related but functionally similar genes and their corresponding gene products nevertheless will still fall within the meaning of the term as it is used herein. Functional similarity requires, for example, at least some structural similarity in the active site or binding region of a nonorthologous gene product compared to a gene encoding the function sought to be substituted. Therefore, a nonorthologous gene includes, for example, a paralog or an unrelated gene.

Therefore, in identifying and constructing the non-naturally occurring microbial organisms of the invention having adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam biosynthetic capability, those skilled in the art will understand with applying the teaching and guidance provided herein to a particular species that the identification of metabolic modifications can include identification and inclusion or inactivation of orthologs. To the extent that paralogs and/or nonorthologous gene displacements are present in the referenced microorganism that encode an enzyme catalyzing a similar or substantially similar metabolic reaction, those skilled in the art also can utilize these evolutionally related genes.

Orthologs, paralogs and nonorthologous gene displacements can be determined by methods well known to those skilled in the art. For example, inspection of nucleic acid or amino acid sequences for two polypeptides will reveal sequence identity and similarities between the compared sequences. Based on such similarities, one skilled in the art can determine if the similarity is sufficiently high to indicate the proteins are related through evolution from a common ancestor. Algorithms well known to those skilled in the art, such as Align, BLAST, Clustal W and others compare and determine a raw sequence similarity or identity, and also determine the presence or significance of gaps in the sequence which can be assigned a weight or score. Such algorithms also are known in the art and are similarly applicable for determining nucleotide sequence similarity or identity. Parameters for sufficient similarity to determine relatedness are computed based on well known methods for calculating statistical similarity, or the chance of finding a similar match in a random polypeptide, and the significance of the match determined. A computer comparison of two or more sequences can, if desired, also be optimized visually by those skilled in the art. Related gene products or proteins can be expected to have a high similarity, for example, 25% to 100% sequence identity. Proteins that are unrelated can have an identity which is essentially the same as would be expected to occur by chance, if a database of sufficient size is scanned (about 5%). Sequences between 5% and 24% may or may not represent sufficient homology to conclude that the compared sequences are related. Additional statistical analysis to determine the significance of such matches given the size of the data set can be carried out to determine the relevance of these sequences.

Exemplary parameters for determining relatedness of two or more sequences using the BLAST algorithm, for example, can be as set forth below. Briefly, amino acid sequence alignments can be performed using BLASTP version 2.0.8 (Jan. 5, 1999) and the following parameters: Matrix: 0 BLOSUM62; gap open: 11; gap extension: 1; x_dropoff: 50; expect: 10.0; wordsize: 3; filter: on. Nucleic acid sequence alignments can be performed using BLASTN version 2.0.6 (Sep. 16, 1998) and the following parameters: Match: 1; mismatch: −2; gap open: 5; gap extension: 2; x_dropoff: 50; expect: 10.0; wordsize: 11; filter: off. Those skilled in the art will know what modifications can be made to the above parameters to either increase or decrease the stringency of the comparison, for example, and determine the relatedness of two or more sequences.

The invention provides non-naturally occurring microbial organisms capable of producing adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam. For example, an adipate pathway can be a reverse adipate degradation pathway (see Examples I and II). In one embodiment, the invention provides a non-naturally occurring microbial organism having an adipate pathway comprising at least one exogenous nucleic acid encoding an adipate pathway enzyme expressed in a sufficient amount to produce adipate, the adipate pathway comprising succinyl-CoA:acetyl-CoA acyl transferase, 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase, 3-hydroxyadipyl-CoA dehydratase, 5-carboxy-2-pentenoyl-CoA reductase, and adipyl-CoA synthetase or phosphotransadipylase/adipate kinase or adipyl-CoA:acetyl-CoA transferase or adipyl-CoA hydrolase. In addition, an adipate pathway can be through a 3-oxoadipate pathway (see Examples III and IV). In another embodiment, the invention provides a non-naturally occurring microbial organism having an adipate pathway comprising at least one exogenous nucleic acid encoding an adipate pathway enzyme expressed in a sufficient amount to produce adipate, the adipate pathway comprising succinyl-CoA:acetyl-CoA acyl transferase, 3-oxoadipyl-CoA transferase, 3-oxoadipate reductase, 3-hydroxyadipate dehydratase, and 2-enoate reductase.

In still another embodiment, the invention provides a non-naturally occurring microbial organism having a 6-aminocaproic acid pathway comprising at least one exogenous nucleic acid encoding a 6-aminocaproic acid pathway enzyme expressed in a sufficient amount to produce 6-aminocaproic acid, the 6-aminocaproic acid pathway comprising CoA-dependent aldehyde dehydrogenase and transaminase (see Examples VIII and IX). Alternatively, 6-aminocaproate dehydrogenase can be used to convert adipate semialdehyde to form 6-aminocaproate (see FIG. 8). In a further embodiment, the invention provides a non-naturally occurring microbial organism having a caprolactam pathway comprising at least one exogenous nucleic acid encoding a caprolactam pathway enzyme expressed in a sufficient amount to produce caprolactam, the caprolactam pathway comprising CoA-dependent aldehyde dehydrogenase, transaminase or 6-aminocaproate dehydrogenase, and amidohydrolase (see Examples VIII and IX).

As disclosed herein, a 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam producing microbial organism of the invention can produce 6-aminocaproic acid and/or caprolactam from an adipyl-CoA precursor (see FIG. 8 and Examples VIII and IX). Therefore, it is understood that a 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam producing microbial organism can further include a pathway to produce adipyl-CoA. For example an adipyl-CoA pathway can include the enzymes of FIG. 2 that utilize succinyl-CoA and acetyl-CoA as precursors through the production of adipyl-CoA, that is, lacking an enzyme for the final step of converting adipyl-CoA to adipate. Thus, one exemplary adipyl-CoA pathway can include succinyl-CoA:acetyl-CoA acyl transferase, 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase, 3-hydroxyadipyl-CoA dehydratase and 5-carboxy-2-pentenoyl-CoA reductase.

In addition, as shown in FIG. 1, an adipate degradation pathway includes the step of converting adipate to adipyl-CoA by an adipate CoA ligase. Therefore, an adipyl-CoA pathway can be an adipate pathway that further includes an enzyme activity that converts adipate to adipyl-CoA, including, for example, adipate-CoA ligase activity as in the first step of FIG. 1 or any of the enzymes in the final step of FIG. 2 carried out in the reverse direction, for example, any of adipyl-CoA synthetase (also referred to as adipate Co-A ligase), phosphotransadipylase/adipate kinase, adipyl-CoA:acetyl-CoA transferase or adipyl-CoA hydrolase. An enzyme having adipate to adipyl-CoA activity can be an endogenous activity or can be provided as an exogenous nucleic acid encoding the enzyme, as disclosed herein. Thus, it is understood that any adipate pathway can be utilized with an adipate to adipyl-CoA enzymatic activity to generate an adipyl-CoA pathway. Such a pathway can be included in a 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam producing microbial organism to provide an adipyl-CoA precursor for 6-aminocaproic acid and/or caprolactam production.

An additional exemplary adipate pathway utilizes alpha-ketoadipate as a precursor (see FIG. 6 and Example VI). In yet another embodiment, the invention provides a non-naturally occurring microbial organism having an adipate pathway comprising at least one exogenous nucleic acid encoding an adipate pathway enzyme expressed in a sufficient amount to produce adipate, the adipate pathway comprising homocitrate synthase, homoaconitase, homoisocitrate dehydrogenase, 2-ketoadipate reductase, alpha-hydroxyadipate dehydratase and oxidoreductase. A further exemplary adipate pathway utilizes a lysine dedgradation pathway (see FIG. 7 and Example VII). Another embodiment of the invention provides a non-naturally occurring microbial organism having an adipate pathway comprising at least one exogenous nucleic acid encoding an adipate pathway enzyme expressed in a sufficient amount to produce adipate, the adipate pathway comprising carbon nitrogen lyase, oxidoreductase, transaminase and oxidoreductase.

Yet another exemplary adipate pathway utilizes alpha-ketoadipate as a precursor (see FIG. 9 and Examples X and XI). Thus, the invention additionally provides a non-naturally occurring microbial organism having an adipate pathway comprising at least one exogenous nucleic acid encoding an adipate pathway enzyme expressed in a sufficient amount to produce adipate, the adipate pathway comprising alpha-ketoadipyl-CoA synthetase, phosphotransketoadipylase/alpha-ketoadipate kinase or alpha-ketoadipyl-CoA:acetyl-CoA transferase; 2-hydroxyadipyl-CoA dehydrogenase; 2-hydroxyadipyl-CoA dehydratase; 5-carboxy-2-pentenoyl-CoA reductase; and adipyl-CoA synthetase, phosphotransadipylase/adipate kinase, adipyl-CoA:acetyl-CoA transferase or adipyl-CoA hydrolase. In still another embodiment, the invention provides a non-naturally occurring microbial organism having an adipate pathway comprising at least one exogenous nucleic acid encoding an adipate pathway enzyme expressed in a sufficient amount to produce adipate, the adipate pathway comprising 2-hydroxyadipate dehydrogenase; 2-hydroxyadipyl-CoA synthetase, phosphotranshydroxyadipylase/2-hydroxyadipate kinase or 2-hydroxyadipyl-CoA:acetyl-CoA transferase; 2-hydroxyadipyl-CoA dehydratase; 5-carboxy-2-pentenoyl-CoA reductase; and adipyl-CoA synthetase, phosphotransadipylase/adipate kinase, adipyl-CoA:acetyl-CoA transferase or adipyl-CoA hydrolase.

In an additional embodiment, the invention provides a non-naturally occurring microbial organism having an adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam pathway, wherein the non-naturally occurring microbial organism comprises at least one exogenous nucleic acid encoding a polypeptide that converts a substrate to a product, as disclosed herein. Thus, the invention provides a non-naturally occurring microbial organism containing at least one exogenous nucleic acid encoding a polypeptide, where the polypeptide is an enzyme or protein that converts the substrates and products of an adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam pathway, such as that shown in FIGS. 2, 3, 8 and 9.

In one embodiment, the invention provides a non-naturally occurring microbial organism having an adipate pathway, wherein the microbial organism contains at least one exogenous nucleic acid encoding a polypeptide that converts a substrate to a product selected from succinyl-CoA and acetyl-CoA to 3-oxoadipyl-CoA; 3-oxoadipyl-CoA to 3-hydroxyadipyl-CoA; 3-hydroxyadipyl-CoA to 5-carboxy-2-pentenoyl-CoA; 5-carboxy-2-pentenoyl-CoA to adipyl-CoA; adipyl-CoA to adipate (see FIG. 2). In another embodiment, the invention provides a non-naturally occurring microbial organism having an adipate pathway, wherein the microbial organism contains at least one exogenous nucleic acid encoding a polypeptide that converts a substrate to a product selected from succinyl-CoA and acetyl-CoA to 3-oxoadipyl-CoA; 3-oxoadipyl-CoA to 3-oxoadipate; 3-oxoadipate to 3-hydroxyadipate; 3-hydroxyadipate to hexa-2-enedioate; hexa-2-enedioate to adipate (see FIG. 3).

In an additional embodiment, the invention provides a non-naturally occurring microbial organism having a 6-aminocaproic acid pathway, wherein the microbial organism contains at least one exogenous nucleic acid encoding a polypeptide that converts a substrate to a product selected from adipyl-CoA to adipate semialdehyde; and adipate semialdehyde to 6-aminocaproate (see FIG. 8). In still another embodiment, the invention provides a non-naturally occurring microbial organism having a caprolactam pathway, wherein the microbial organism contains at least one exogenous nucleic acid encoding a polypeptide that converts a substrate to a product selected from adipyl-CoA to adipate semialdehyde; adipate semialdehyde to 6-aminocaproate; and 6-aminocaproate to caprolactam.

In still another embodiment, the invention provides a non-naturally occurring microbial organism having an adipate pathway, wherein the microbial organism contains at least one exogenous nucleic acid encoding a polypeptide that converts a substrate to a product selected from alpha-ketoadipate to alpha-ketoadipyl-CoA; alpha-ketoadipyl-CoA to 2-hydroxyadipyl-CoA; 2-hydroxyadipyl-CoA to 5-carboxy-2-pentenoyl-CoA; 5-carboxy-2-pentenoyl-CoA to adipyl-CoA; and adipyl-CoA to adipate (see FIG. 9). Additionally, the invention provides a non-naturally occurring microbial organism having an adipate pathway, wherein the microbial organism contains at least one exogenous nucleic acid encoding a polypeptide that converts a substrate to a product selected from alpha-ketoadipate to 2-hydroxyadipate; 2-hydroxyadipate to 2-hydroxyadipyl-CoA; 2-hydroxyadipyl-CoA to 5-carboxy-2-pentenoyl-CoA; 5-carboxy-2-pentenoyl-CoA to adipyl-CoA; and adipyl-CoA to adipate (FIG. 9).

The invention is described herein with general reference to the metabolic reaction, reactant or product thereof, or with specific reference to one or more nucleic acids or genes encoding an enzyme associated with or catalyzing the referenced metabolic reaction, reactant or product. Unless otherwise expressly stated herein, those skilled in the art will understand that reference to a reaction also constitutes reference to the reactants and products of the reaction. Similarly, unless otherwise expressly stated herein, reference to a reactant or product also references the reaction, and reference to any of these metabolic constituents also references the gene or genes encoding the enzymes that catalyze the referenced reaction, reactant or product. Likewise, given the well known fields of metabolic biochemistry, enzymology and genomics, reference herein to a gene or encoding nucleic acid also constitutes a reference to the corresponding encoded enzyme and the reaction it catalyzes as well as the reactants and products of the reaction.

The non-naturally occurring microbial organisms of the invention can be produced by introducing expressible nucleic acids encoding one or more of the enzymes participating in one or more adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam biosynthetic pathways. Depending on the host microbial organism chosen for biosynthesis, nucleic acids for some or all of a particular adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam biosynthetic pathway can be expressed. For example, if a chosen host is deficient in one or more enzymes for a desired biosynthetic pathway, then expressible nucleic acids for the deficient enzyme(s) are introduced into the host for subsequent exogenous expression. Alternatively, if the chosen host exhibits endogenous expression of some pathway genes, but is deficient in others, then an encoding nucleic acid is needed for the deficient enzyme(s) to achieve adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam biosynthesis. Thus, a non-naturally occurring microbial organism of the invention can be produced by introducing exogenous enzyme activities to obtain a desired biosynthetic pathway or a desired biosynthetic pathway can be obtained by introducing one or more exogenous enzyme activities that, together with one or more endogenous enzymes, produces a desired product such as adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam.

Depending on the adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam biosynthetic pathway constituents of a selected host microbial organism, the non-naturally occurring microbial organisms of the invention will include at least one exogenously expressed adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam pathway-encoding nucleic acid and up to all encoding nucleic acids for one or more adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam biosynthetic pathways. For example, adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam biosynthesis can be established in a host deficient in a pathway enzyme through exogenous expression of the corresponding encoding nucleic acid. In a host deficient in all enzymes of a adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam pathway, exogenous expression of all enzyme in the pathway can be included, although it is understood that all enzymes of a pathway can be expressed even if the host contains at least one of the pathway enzymes.

For example, exogenous expression of all enzymes in a pathway for production of adipate can be included in a host organism, such as succinyl-CoA:acetyl-CoA acyl transferase, 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase, 3-hydroxyadipyl-CoA dehydratase, 5-carboxy-2-pentenoyl-CoA reductase, and adipyl-CoA synthetase or phosphotransadipylase/adipate kinase or adipyl-CoA:acetyl-CoA transferase or adipyl-CoA hydrolase. In particular, a host organism can contain the adipate pathway enzymes succinyl-CoA:acetyl-CoA acyl transferase, 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase, 3-hydroxyadipyl-CoA dehydratase, 5-carboxy-2-pentenoyl-CoA reductase, and adipyl-CoA synthetase. Alternatively, a host organism can contain the adipate pathway enzymes succinyl-CoA:acetyl-CoA acyl transferase, 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase, 3-hydroxyadipyl-CoA dehydratase, 5-carboxy-2-pentenoyl-CoA reductase, and phosphotransadipylase/adipate kinase. In addition, a host organism can contain the adipate pathway enzymes succinyl-CoA:acetyl-CoA acyl transferase, 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase, 3-hydroxyadipyl-CoA dehydratase, 5-carboxy-2-pentenoyl-CoA reductase, and adipyl-CoA:acetyl-CoA transferase. Further, a host organism can contain the adipate pathway enzymes succinyl-CoA:acetyl-CoA acyl transferase, 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase, 3-hydroxyadipyl-CoA dehydratase, 5-carboxy-2-pentenoyl-CoA reductase, and adipyl-CoA hydrolase.

In the case of a 6-aminocaproic acid producing microbial organism, exogenous expression of all enzymes in a pathway for production of 6-aminocaproic acid can be included in a host organism, such as CoA-dependent aldehyde dehydrogenase and transaminase or CoA-dependent aldehyde dehydrogenase and 6-aminocaproate dehydrogenase. For a caprolactam producing microbial organism, exogenous expression of all enzymes in a pathway for production of caprolactam can be included in a host organism, such as CoA-dependent aldehyde dehydrogenase, transaminase or 6-aminocaproate dehydrogenase, and amidohydrolase.

Given the teachings and guidance provided herein, those skilled in the art will understand that the number of encoding nucleic acids to introduce in an expressible form will, at least, parallel the adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam pathway deficiencies of the selected host microbial organism. Therefore, a non-naturally occurring microbial organism of the invention can have one, two, three, four, or five, up to all nucleic acids encoding the above enzymes constituting a adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam biosynthetic pathway. In some embodiments, the non-naturally occurring microbial organisms also can include other genetic modifications that facilitate or optimize adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam biosynthesis or that confer other useful functions onto the host microbial organism. One such other functionality can include, for example, augmentation of the synthesis of one or more of the adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam pathway precursors such as succinyl-CoA and/or acetyl-CoA in the case of adipate synthesis, or adipyl-CoA in the case of 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam synthesis, including the adipate pathway enzymes disclosed herein.

In some embodiments, a non-naturally occurring microbial organism of the invention is generated from a host that contains the enzymatic capability to synthesize adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam. In this specific embodiment it can be useful to increase the synthesis or accumulation of an adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam pathway product to, for example, drive adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam pathway reactions toward adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam production. Increased synthesis or accumulation can be accomplished by, for example, overexpression of nucleic acids encoding one or more of the above-described adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam pathway enzymes. Over expression of the adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam pathway enzyme or enzymes can occur, for example, through exogenous expression of the endogenous gene or genes, or through exogenous expression of the heterologous gene or genes. Therefore, naturally occurring organisms can be readily generated to be non-naturally occurring microbial organisms of the invention, for example, producing adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam, through overexpression of one, two, three, four, five, that is, up to all nucleic acids encoding adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam biosynthetic pathway enzymes. In addition, a non-naturally occurring organism can be generated by mutagenesis of an endogenous gene that results in an increase in activity of an enzyme in the adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam biosynthetic pathway.

In particularly useful embodiments, exogenous expression of the encoding nucleic acids is employed. Exogenous expression confers the ability to custom tailor the expression and/or regulatory elements to the host and application to achieve a desired expression level that is controlled by the user. However, endogenous expression also can be utilized in other embodiments such as by removing a negative regulatory effector or induction of the gene\'s promoter when linked to an inducible promoter or other regulatory element. Thus, an endogenous gene having a naturally occurring inducible promoter can be up-regulated by providing the appropriate inducing agent, or the regulatory region of an endogenous gene can be engineered to incorporate an inducible regulatory element, thereby allowing the regulation of increased expression of an endogenous gene at a desired time. Similarly, an inducible promoter can be included as a regulatory element for an exogenous gene introduced into a non-naturally occurring microbial organism.

It is understood that, in methods of the invention, any of the one or more exogenous nucleic acids can be introduced into a microbial organism to produce a non-naturally occurring microbial organism of the invention. The nucleic acids can be introduced so as to confer, for example, an adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam biosynthetic pathway onto the microbial organism. Alternatively, encoding nucleic acids can be introduced to produce an intermediate microbial organism having the biosynthetic capability to catalyze some of the required reactions to confer adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam biosynthetic capability. For example, a non-naturally occurring microbial organism having an adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam biosynthetic pathway can comprise at least two exogenous nucleic acids encoding desired enzymes. In the case of adipate production, the at least two exogenous nucleic acids can encode the enzymes such as the combination of succinyl-CoA:acetyl-CoA acyl transferase and 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase, or succinyl-CoA:acetyl-CoA acyl transferase and 3-hydroxyadipyl-CoA dehydratase, or 3-hydroxyadipyl-CoA and 5-carboxy-2-pentenoyl-CoA reductase, or 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA and adipyl-CoA synthetase, and the like. In the case of caprolactam production, the at least two exogenous nucleic acids can encode the enzymes such as the combination of CoA-dependent aldehyde dehydrogenase and transaminase, or CoA-dependent aldehyde dehydrogenase and amidohydrolase, or transaminase and amidohydrolase. Thus, it is understood that any combination of two or more enzymes of a biosynthetic pathway can be included in a non-naturally occurring microbial organism of the invention.

Similarly, it is understood that any combination of three or more enzymes of a biosynthetic pathway can be included in a non-naturally occurring microbial organism of the invention, for example, in the case of adipate production, the combination of enzymes succinyl-CoA:acetyl-CoA acyl transferase, 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase, and 3-hydroxyadipyl-CoA dehydratase; or succinyl-CoA:acetyl-CoA acyl transferase, 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase and 5-carboxy-2-pentenoyl-CoA reductase; or succinyl-CoA:acetyl-CoA acyl transferase, 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase and adipyl-CoA synthetase; or 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase, 3-hydroxyadipyl-CoA dehydratase and adipyl-CoA:acetyl-CoA transferase, and so forth, as desired, so long as the combination of enzymes of the desired biosynthetic pathway results in production of the corresponding desired product. Similarly, any combination of four or more enzymes of a biosynthetic pathway as disclosed herein can be included in a non-naturally occurring microbial organism of the invention, as desired, so long as the combination of enzymes of the desired biosynthetic pathway results in production of the corresponding desired product.

In addition to the biosynthesis of adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam as described herein, the non-naturally occurring microbial organisms and methods of the invention also can be utilized in various combinations with each other and with other microbial organisms and methods well known in the art to achieve product biosynthesis by other routes. For example, one alternative to produce adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam other than use of the adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam producers is through addition of another microbial organism capable of converting an adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam pathway intermediate to adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam. One such procedure includes, for example, the fermentation of a microbial organism that produces an adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam pathway intermediate. The adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam pathway intermediate can then be used as a substrate for a second microbial organism that converts the adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam pathway intermediate to adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam. The adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam pathway intermediate can be added directly to another culture of the second organism or the original culture of the adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam pathway intermediate producers can be depleted of these microbial organisms by, for example, cell separation, and then subsequent addition of the second organism to the fermentation broth can be utilized to produce the final product without intermediate purification steps.

In other embodiments, the non-naturally occurring microbial organisms and methods of the invention can be assembled in a wide variety of subpathways to achieve biosynthesis of, for example, adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam. In these embodiments, biosynthetic pathways for a desired product of the invention can be segregated into different microbial organisms, and the different microbial organisms can be co-cultured to produce the final product. In such a biosynthetic scheme, the product of one microbial organism is the substrate for a second microbial organism until the final product is synthesized. For example, the biosynthesis of adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam can be accomplished by constructing a microbial organism that contains biosynthetic pathways for conversion of one pathway intermediate to another pathway intermediate or the product. Alternatively, adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam also can be biosynthetically produced from microbial organisms through co-culture or co-fermentation using two organisms in the same vessel, where the first microbial organism produces a adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam intermediate and the second microbial organism converts the intermediate to adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam.

Given the teachings and guidance provided herein, those skilled in the art will understand that a wide variety of combinations and permutations exist for the non-naturally occurring microbial organisms and methods of the invention together with other microbial organisms, with the co-culture of other non-naturally occurring microbial organisms having subpathways and with combinations of other chemical and/or biochemical procedures well known in the art to produce adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam.

Sources of encoding nucleic acids for an adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam pathway enzyme can include, for example, any species where the encoded gene product is capable of catalyzing the referenced reaction. Such species include both prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms including, but not limited to, bacteria, including archaea and eubacteria, and eukaryotes, including yeast, plant, insect, animal, and mammal, including human. Exemplary species for such sources include, for example, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas knackmussii, Pseudomonas putida, Pseudomonas fluorescens, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Serratia proteamaculans, Streptomyces sp. 2065, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Ralstonia eutropha, Clostridium acetobutylicum, Euglena gracilis, Treponema denticola, Clostridium kluyveri, Homo sapiens, Rattus norvegicus, Acinetobacter sp. ADP1, Streptomyces coelicolor, Eubacterium barkeri, Peptostreptococcus asaccharolyticus, Clostridium botulinum, Clostridium tyrobutyricum, Clostridium thermoaceticum (Moorella thermoaceticum), Acinetobacter calcoaceticus, Mus musculus, Sus scrofa, Flavobacterium sp, Arthrobacter aurescens, Penicillium chrysogenum, Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus nidulans, Bacillus subtilis, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Zymomonas mobilis, Mannheimia succiniciproducens, Clostridium ljungdahlii, Clostridium carboxydivorans, Geobacillus stearothermophilus, Agrobacterium tumefaciens, Achromobacter denitrificans, Arabidopsis thaliana, Haemophilus influenzae, Acidaminococcus fermentans, Clostridium sp. M62/1, Fusobacterium nucleatum, as well as other exemplary species disclosed herein or available as source organisms for corresponding genes (see Examples). However, with the complete genome sequence available for now more than 550 species (with more than half of these available on public databases such as the NCBI), including 395 microorganism genomes and a variety of yeast, fungi, plant, and mammalian genomes, the identification of genes encoding the requisite adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam biosynthetic activity for one or more genes in related or distant species, including for example, homologues, orthologs, paralogs and nonorthologous gene displacements of known genes, and the interchange of genetic alterations between organisms is routine and well known in the art. Accordingly, the metabolic alterations enabling biosynthesis of adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam described herein with reference to a particular organism such as E. coli can be readily applied to other microorganisms, including prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms alike. Given the teachings and guidance provided herein, those skilled in the art will know that a metabolic alteration exemplified in one organism can be applied equally to other organisms.

In some instances, such as when an alternative adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam biosynthetic pathway exists in an unrelated species, adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam biosynthesis can be conferred onto the host species by, for example, exogenous expression of a paralog or paralogs from the unrelated species that catalyzes a similar, yet non-identical metabolic reaction to replace the referenced reaction. Because certain differences among metabolic networks exist between different organisms, those skilled in the art will understand that the actual gene usage between different organisms may differ. However, given the teachings and guidance provided herein, those skilled in the art also will understand that the teachings and methods of the invention can be applied to all microbial organisms using the cognate metabolic alterations to those exemplified herein to construct a microbial organism in a species of interest that will synthesize adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam.

Host microbial organisms can be selected from, and the non-naturally occurring microbial organisms generated in, for example, bacteria, yeast, fungus or any of a variety of other microorganisms applicable to fermentation processes. Exemplary bacteria include species selected from Escherichia coli, Klebsiella oxytoca, Anaerobiospirillum succiniciproducens, Actinobacillus succinogenes, Mannheimia succiniciproducens, Rhizobium etli, Bacillus subtilis, Corynebacterium glutamicum, Gluconobacter oxydans, Zymomonas mobilis, Lactococcus lactis, Lactobacillus plantarum, Streptomyces coelicolor, Clostridium acetobutylicum, Pseudomonas fluorescens, and Pseudomonas putida. Exemplary yeasts or fungi include species selected from Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, Kluyveromyces lactis, Kluyveromyces marxianus, Aspergillus terreus, Aspergillus niger and Pichia pastoris. For example, E. coli is a particularly useful host organisms since it is a well characterized microbial organism suitable for genetic engineering. Other particularly useful host organisms include yeast such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

Methods for constructing and testing the expression levels of a non-naturally occurring adipate-, 6-aminocaproic acid- or caprolactam-producing host can be performed, for example, by recombinant and detection methods well known in the art. Such methods can be found described in, for example, Sambrook et al., Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual, Third Ed., Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, New York (2001); and Ausubel et al., Current Protocols in Molecular Biology, John Wiley and Sons, Baltimore, Md. (1999).

Exogenous nucleic acid sequences involved in a pathway for production of adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam can be introduced stably or transiently into a host cell using techniques well known in the art including, but not limited to, conjugation, electroporation, chemical transformation, transduction, transfection, and ultrasound transformation. For exogenous expression in E. coli or other prokaryotic cells, some nucleic acid sequences in the genes or cDNAs of eukaryotic nucleic acids can encode targeting signals such as an N-terminal mitochondrial or other targeting signal, which can be removed before transformation into prokaryotic host cells, if desired. For example, removal of a mitochondrial leader sequence led to increased expression in E. coli (Hoffmeister et al., J. Biol. Chem. 280:4329-4338 (2005). For exogenous expression in yeast or other eukaryotic cells, genes can be expressed in the cytosol without the addition of leader sequence, or can be targeted to mitochondrion or other organelles, or targeted for secretion, by the addition of a suitable targeting sequence such as a mitochondrial targeting or secretion signal suitable for the host cells. Thus, it is understood that appropriate modifications to a nucleic acid sequence to remove or include a targeting sequence can be incorporated into an exogenous nucleic acid sequence to impart desirable properties. Furthermore, genes can be subjected to codon optimization with techniques well known in the art to achieve optimized expression of the proteins.

An expression vector or vectors can be constructed to include one or more adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam biosynthetic pathway encoding nucleic acids as exemplified herein operably linked to expression control sequences functional in the host organism. Expression vectors applicable for use in the microbial host organisms of the invention include, for example, plasmids, phage vectors, viral vectors, episomes and artificial chromosomes, including vectors and selection sequences or markers operable for stable integration into a host chromosome. Additionally, the expression vectors can include one or more selectable marker genes and appropriate expression control sequences. Selectable marker genes also can be included that, for example, provide resistance to antibiotics or toxins, complement auxotrophic deficiencies, or supply critical nutrients not in the culture media. Expression control sequences can include constitutive and inducible promoters, transcription enhancers, transcription terminators, and the like which are well known in the art. When two or more exogenous encoding nucleic acids are to be co-expressed, both nucleic acids can be inserted, for example, into a single expression vector or in separate expression vectors. For single vector expression, the encoding nucleic acids can be operationally linked to one common expression control sequence or linked to different expression control sequences, such as one inducible promoter and one constitutive promoter. The transformation of exogenous nucleic acid sequences involved in a metabolic or synthetic pathway can be confirmed using methods well known in the art. Such methods include, for example, nucleic acid analysis such as Northern blots or polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of mRNA, or immunoblotting for expression of gene products, or other suitable analytical methods to test the expression of an introduced nucleic acid sequence or its corresponding gene product. It is understood by those skilled in the art that the exogenous nucleic acid is expressed in a sufficient amount to produce the desired product, and it is further understood that expression levels can be optimized to obtain sufficient expression using methods well known in the art and as disclosed herein.

The invention additionally provides methods for producing a desired product such as adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam. In one embodiment, the invention provides a method for producing adipate, comprising culturing a non-naturally occurring microbial organism having an adipate pathway, the pathway comprising at least one exogenous nucleic acid encoding an adipate pathway enzyme expressed in a sufficient amount to produce adipate, under conditions and for a sufficient period of time to produce adipate, the adipate pathway comprising succinyl-CoA:acetyl-CoA acyl transferase, 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase, 3-hydroxyadipyl-CoA dehydratase, 5-carboxy-2-pentenoyl-CoA reductase, and adipyl-CoA synthetase or phosphotransadipylase/adipate kinase or adipyl-CoA:acetyl-CoA transferase or adipyl-CoA hydrolase. In another embodiment, the invention provides a method for producing adipate, comprising culturing a non-naturally occurring microbial organism having an adipate pathway, the pathway comprising at least one exogenous nucleic acid encoding an adipate pathway enzyme expressed in a sufficient amount to produce adipate, under conditions and for a sufficient period of time to produce adipate, the adipate pathway comprising succinyl-CoA:acetyl-CoA acyl transferase, 3-oxoadipyl-CoA transferase, 3-oxoadipate reductase, 3-hydroxyadipate dehydratase, and 2-enoate reductase.

In yet another embodiment, the invention provides a method for producing 6-aminocaproic acid, comprising culturing a non-naturally occurring microbial organism having a 6-aminocaproic acid pathway, the pathway comprising at least one exogenous nucleic acid encoding a 6-aminocaproic acid pathway enzyme expressed in a sufficient amount to produce 6-aminocaproic acid, under conditions and for a sufficient period of time to produce 6-aminocaproic acid, the 6-aminocaproic acid pathway comprising CoA-dependent aldehyde dehydrogenase and transaminase or 6-aminocaproate dehydrogenase. In a further embodiment, the invention provides a method for producing caprolactam, comprising culturing a non-naturally occurring microbial organism having a caprolactam pathway, the pathway comprising at least one exogenous nucleic acid encoding a caprolactam pathway enzyme expressed in a sufficient amount to produce caprolactam, under conditions and for a sufficient period of time to produce caprolactam, the caprolactam pathway comprising CoA-dependent aldehyde dehydrogenase, transaminase or 6-aminocaproate dehydrogenase, and amidohydrolase.

The invention additionally provides a method for producing adipate, comprising culturing a non-naturally occurring microbial organism having an adipate pathway, the pathway comprising at least one exogenous nucleic acid encoding an adipate pathway enzyme expressed in a sufficient amount to produce adipate, under conditions and for a sufficient period of time to produce adipate, the adipate pathway comprising alpha-ketoadipyl-CoA synthetase, phosphotransketoadipylase/alpha-ketoadipate kinase or alpha-ketoadipyl-CoA:acetyl-CoA transferase; 2-hydroxyadipyl-CoA dehydrogenase; 2-hydroxyadipyl-CoA dehydratase; 5-carboxy-2-pentenoyl-CoA reductase; and adipyl-CoA synthetase, phosphotransadipylase/adipate kinase, adipyl-CoA:acetyl-CoA transferase or adipyl-CoA hydrolase.

In still another embodiment, the invention provides a method for producing adipate, comprising culturing a non-naturally occurring microbial organism having an adipate pathway, the pathway comprising at least one exogenous nucleic acid encoding an adipate pathway enzyme expressed in a sufficient amount to produce adipate, under conditions and for a sufficient period of time to produce adipate, the adipate pathway comprising 2-hydroxyadipate dehydrogenase; 2-hydroxyadipyl-CoA synthetase, phosphotranshydroxyadipylase/2-hydroxyadipate kinase or 2-hydroxyadipyl-CoA:acetyl-CoA transferase; 2-hydroxyadipyl-CoA dehydratase; 5-carboxy-2-pentenoyl-CoA reductase; and adipyl-CoA synthetase, phosphotransadipylase/adipate kinase, adipyl-CoA:acetyl-CoA transferase or adipyl-CoA hydrolase.

Suitable purification and/or assays to test for the production of adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam can be performed using well known methods. Suitable replicates such as triplicate cultures can be grown for each engineered strain to be tested. For example, product and byproduct formation in the engineered production host can be monitored. The final product and intermediates, and other organic compounds, can be analyzed by methods such as HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromatography), GC-MS (Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectroscopy) and LC-MS (Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectroscopy) using routine procedures well known in the art. The release of product in the fermentation broth can also be tested with the culture supernatant. Byproducts and residual glucose can be quantified by HPLC using, for example, a refractive index detector for glucose and alcohols, and a UV detector for organic acids (Lin et al., Biotechnol. Bioeng. 90:775-779 (2005)), or other suitable assay and detection methods well known in the art. The individual enzyme activities from the exogenous DNA sequences can also be assayed using methods well known in the art.

The adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam can be separated from other components in the culture using a variety of methods well known in the art. Such separation methods include, for example, extraction procedures as well as methods that include continuous liquid-liquid extraction, pervaporation, membrane filtration, membrane separation, reverse osmosis, electrodialysis, distillation, crystallization, centrifugation, extractive filtration, ion exchange chromatography, size exclusion chromatography, adsorption chromatography, and ultrafiltration. All of the above methods are well known in the art.

Any of the non-naturally occurring microbial organisms described herein can be cultured to produce and/or secrete the biosynthetic products of the invention. For example, the adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam producers can be cultured for the biosynthetic production of adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam.

For the production of adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam, the recombinant strains are cultured in a medium with carbon source and other essential nutrients. It is highly desirable to maintain anaerobic conditions in the fermenter to reduce the cost of the overall process. Such conditions can be obtained, for example, by first sparging the medium with nitrogen and then sealing the flasks with a septum and crimp-cap. For strains where growth is not observed anaerobically, microaerobic conditions can be applied by perforating the septum with a small hole for limited aeration. Exemplary anaerobic conditions have been described previously and are well-known in the art. Exemplary aerobic and anaerobic conditions are described, for example, in U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/891,602, filed Aug. 10, 2007. Fermentations can be performed in a batch, fed-batch or continuous manner, as disclosed herein.

If desired, the pH of the medium can be maintained at a desired pH, in particular neutral pH, such as a pH of around 7 by addition of a base, such as NaOH or other bases, or acid, as needed to maintain the culture medium at a desirable pH. The growth rate can be determined by measuring optical density using a spectrophotometer (600 nm), and the glucose uptake rate by monitoring carbon source depletion over time.

The growth medium can be, for example, any carbohydrate source which can supply a source of carbon to the non-naturally occurring microorganism. Such sources include, for example, sugars such as glucose, xylose, arabinose, galactose, mannose, fructose and starch. Other sources of carbohydrate include, for example, renewable feedstocks and biomass. Exemplary types of biomasses that can be used as feedstocks in the methods of the invention include cellulosic biomass, hemicellulosic biomass and lignin feedstocks or portions of feedstocks. Such biomass feedstocks contain, for example, carbohydrate substrates useful as carbon sources such as glucose, xylose, arabinose, galactose, mannose, fructose and starch. Given the teachings and guidance provided herein, those skilled in the art will understand that renewable feedstocks and biomass other than those exemplified above also can be used for culturing the microbial organisms of the invention for the production of adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam.

In addition to renewable feedstocks such as those exemplified above, the adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam microbial organisms of the invention also can be modified for growth on syngas as its source of carbon. In this specific embodiment, one or more proteins or enzymes are expressed in the adipate, 6-aminocaproic acid or caprolactam producing organisms to provide a metabolic pathway for utilization of syngas or other gaseous carbon source.

Synthesis gas, also known as syngas or producer gas, is the major product of gasification of coal and of carbonaceous materials such as biomass materials, including agricultural crops and residues. Syngas is a mixture primarily of H2 and CO and can be obtained from the gasification of any organic feedstock, including but not limited to coal, coal oil, natural gas, biomass, and waste organic matter. Gasification is generally carried out under a high fuel to oxygen ratio. Although largely H2 and CO, syngas can also include CO2 and other gases in smaller quantities. Thus, synthesis gas provides a cost effective source of gaseous carbon such as CO and, additionally, CO2.

The Wood-Ljungdahl pathway catalyzes the conversion of CO and H2 to acetyl-CoA and other products such as acetate. Organisms capable of utilizing CO and syngas also generally have the capability of utilizing CO2 and CO2/H2 mixtures through the same basic set of enzymes and transformations encompassed by the Wood-Ljungdahl pathway. H2-dependent conversion of CO2 to acetate by microorganisms was recognized long before it was revealed that CO also could be used by the same organisms and that the same pathways were involved. Many acetogens have been shown to grow in the presence of CO2 and produce compounds such as acetate as long as hydrogen is present to supply the necessary reducing equivalents (see for example, Drake, Acetogenesis, pp. 3-60 Chapman and Hall, New York, (1994)). This can be summarized by the following equation:

2CO2+4H2+nADP+nPi→CH3COOH+2H2O+nATP

Hence, non-naturally occurring microorganisms possessing the Wood-Ljungdahl pathway can utilize CO2 and H2 mixtures as well for the production of acetyl-CoA and other desired products.



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20120264179 A1
Publish Date
10/18/2012
Document #
13452642
File Date
04/20/2012
USPTO Class
435121
Other USPTO Classes
435135, 435142, 435147, 435128, 435130, 43525233, 4352522, 43525231, 43525232, 43525235, 43525234, 4352523, 43525411, 4352542, 43525421, 4352543, 43525423, 435189, 435196, 435191, 536 232, 435193
International Class
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Drawings
10


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