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Title: Single gene insertion drives bioalcohol production by a thermophilic archaeon

Bioethanol production is achieved by only two metabolic pathways and only at moderate temperatures. Herein a fundamentally different synthetic pathway for bioalcohol production at 70 degrees C was constructed by insertion of the gene for bacterial alcohol dehydrogenase (AdhA) into the archaeon Pyrococcus furiosus. The engineered strain converted glucose to ethanol via acetate and acetaldehyde, catalyzed by the host-encoded aldehyde ferredoxin oxidoreductase (AOR) and heterologously expressed AdhA, in an energy-conserving, redox-balanced pathway. Furthermore, the AOR/AdhA pathway also converted exogenously added aliphatic and aromatic carboxylic acids to the corresponding alcohol using glucose, pyruvate, and/or hydrogen as the source of reductant. By heterologous coexpression of a membrane-bound carbon monoxide dehydrogenase, CO was used as a reductant for converting carboxylic acids to alcohols. Redirecting the fermentative metabolism of P. furiosus through strategic insertion of foreign genes creates unprecedented opportunities for thermophilic bioalcohol production. Moreover, the AOR/AdhA pathway is a potentially game-changing strategy for syngas fermentation, especially in combination with carbon chain elongation pathways.
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America; Journal Volume: 111; Journal Issue: 49
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E)
Country of Publication:
United States