Metabolic Flux Analysis of Catechin Biosynthesis Pathways Using Nanosensor

Habiba Kausar, Ghazala Ambrin, Mohammad K Okla, Walid Soufan, Abdullah A Al-Ghamdi, Altaf Ahmad
Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland) 2020 March 31, 9 (4)
(+)-Catechin is an important antioxidant of green tea ( Camelia sinensis (L.) O. Kuntze). Catechin is known for its positive role in anticancerous activity, extracellular matrix degradation, cell death regulation, diabetes, and other related disorders. As a result of enormous interest in and great demand for catechin, its biosynthesis using metabolic engineering has become the subject of concentrated research with the aim of enhancing (+)-catechin production. Metabolic flux is an essential concept in the practice of metabolic engineering as it helps in the identification of the regulatory element of a biosynthetic pathway. In the present study, an attempt was made to analyze the metabolic flux of the (+)-catechin biosynthesis pathway in order to decipher the regulatory element of this pathway. Firstly, a genetically encoded fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET)-based nanosensor (FLIP-Cat, fluorescence indicator protein for (+)-catechin) was developed for real-time monitoring of (+)-catechin flux. In vitro characterization of the purified protein of the nanosensor showed that the nanosensor was pH stable and (+)-catechin specific. Its calculated K d was 139 µM. The nanosensor also performed real-time monitoring of (+)-catechin in bacterial cells. In the second step of this study, an entire (+)-catechin biosynthesis pathway was constructed and expressed in E. coli in two sets of plasmid constructs: pET26b-PT7-rbs-PAL-PT7-rbs-4CL-PT7-rbs-CHS-PT7-rbs-CHI and pET26b-T7-rbs-F3H-PT7-rbs- DFR-PT7-rbs-LCR. The E. coli harboring the FLIP-Cat was transformed with these plasmid constructs. The metabolic flux analysis of (+)-catechin was carried out using the FLIP-Cat. The FLIP-Cat successfully monitored the flux of catechin after adding tyrosine, 4-coumaric acid, 4-coumaroyl CoA, naringenin chalcone, naringenin, dihydroquercetin, and leucocyanidin, individually, with the bacterial cells expressing the nanosensor as well as the genes of the (+)-catechin biosynthesis pathway. Dihydroflavonol reductase (DFR) was identified as the main regulatory element of the (+)-catechin biosynthesis pathway. Information about this regulatory element of the (+)-catechin biosynthesis pathway can be used for manipulating the (+)-catechin biosynthesis pathway using a metabolic engineering approach to enhance production of (+)-catechin.

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