Direct bioconversion of d-xylose to 1,2,4-butanetriol in an engineered Escherichia coli

Kris Niño G. Valdehuesa, Huaiwei Liu, Kristine Rose M. Ramos, Si Jae Park, Grace M. Nisola, Won Keun Lee, Wook Jin Chung

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62 Scopus citations


The compound 1,2,4-butanetriol (BT) is a valuable chemical used in the production of plasticizers, polymers, cationic lipids and other medical applications, and is conventionally produced via hydrogenation of malate. In this report, BT is biosynthesized by an engineered Escherichia coli from d-xylose. The pathway: d-xylose → d-xylonate → 2-keto-3-deoxy-d- xylonate → 3,4-dihydroxybutanal → BT, was constructed in E. coli by recruiting a xylose dehydrogenase and a keto acid decarboxylase from Caulobacter crescentus and Pseudomonas putida, respectively. Authentic BT was detected from cultures of the engineered strain. Further improvement on the strain was performed by blocking the native d-xylose and d-xylonate metabolic pathways which involves disruption of xylAB, yjhH and yagE genes in the host chromosome. The final construct produced 0.88 g L-1 BT from 10 g L-1 d-xylose with a molar yield of 12.82%. By far, this is the first report on the direct production of BT from d-xylose by a single microbial host. This may serve as a starting point for further metabolic engineering works to increase the titer of BT toward industrial scale viability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-32
Number of pages8
JournalProcess Biochemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education ( 2009-0093816 ).


  • 1,2,4-Butanetriol
  • Escherichia coli
  • Metabolic engineering
  • d-Xylose


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