High-yield production of important cofactor

Researchers have optimized the expression of coenzyme F420

Gerald Lackner and Mahmudul Hasan stand in front of a laboratory device
The Synthetic Microbiology group of Gerald Lackner (left) searches for natural products in microbial gene clusters, investigates their function and develops biotechnological production methods using synthetic biology and pathway engineering. Mahmudul Hasan (right) conducted various experiments for the study. Source: Anna Schroll/Leibniz-HKI

Enzymes catalyze chemical reactions in all living organisms. However, they often do not do this alone, but require so-called coenzymes - organic molecules that commonly accept or donate electrons or provide energy for a chemical reaction. Particularly relevant are NAD(P)H and FADH2, for example, which play an essential role in energy production through respiration.

The lesser-known coenzyme F420 supports a variety of redox reactions in bacteria and archaea, including the synthesis of various substances of medical interest such as antibiotics. Researchers are therefore interested to study the molecule in more detail, but larger quantities are needed.

Schematic representation of biosynthesis and reaction in a bacterium: F420 is formed in several biosynthetic steps, it is then reduced or oxidized by an enzyme, producing an antibiotic in the process.

The Synthetic Microbiology Group has now succeeded in producing corresponding quantities in the bacterium Escherichia coli, as the researchers explain in the journal Metabolic Engineering. "The resulting effective and simplified production process will facilitate basic research on F420-dependent bioprocesses as well as future applications of F420-dependent enzymes in biocatalysis," the authors conclude.

Original publication

Last D, Hasan M, Rothenburger L, Braga D, Lackner G (2022). High-yield production of coenzyme F420 in Escherichia coli by fluorescence-based screening of multi-dimensional gene expression space. Metabolic Engineering, doi: 10.1016/j.ymben.2022.07.006