Genome-scale metabolic network reconstruction and in silico analysis of hexanoic acid producing megasphaera elsdenii

Na Rae Lee, Choong Hwan Lee, Dong Yup Lee, Jin Byung Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Hexanoic acid and its derivatives have been recently recognized as value-added materials and can be synthesized by several microbes. Of them, Megasphaera elsdenii has been considered as an interesting hexanoic acid producer because of its capability to utilize a variety of carbons sources. However, the cellular metabolism and physiology of M. elsdenii still remain uncharacterized. Therefore, in order to better understand hexanoic acid synthetic metabolism in M. elsdenii, we newly reconstructed its genome-scale metabolic model, iME375, which accounts for 375 genes, 521 reactions, and 443 metabolites. A constraint-based analysis was then employed to evaluate cell growth under various conditions. Subsequently, a flux ratio analysis was conducted to understand the mechanism of bifurcated hexanoic acid synthetic pathways, including the typical fatty acid synthetic pathway via acetyl-CoA and the TCA cycle in a counterclockwise direction through succinate. The resultant metabolic states showed that the highest hexanoic acid production could be achieved when the balanced fractional contribution via acetyl-CoA and succinate in reductive TCA cycle was formed in various cell growth rates. The highest hexanoic acid production was maintained in the most perturbed flux ratio, as phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (pck) enables the bifurcated pathway to form consistent fluxes. Finally, organic acid consuming simulations suggested that succinate can increase both biomass formation and hexanoic acid production.

Original languageEnglish
Article number539
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

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© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Bifurcated pathway
  • Constraint-based modeling
  • Genome-scale metabolic model
  • Hexanoic acid
  • Megasphaera elsdenii


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