Metabolic engineering of 1,2-propanediol pathways in Corynebacterium glutamicum.
Appl. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 90: 1721-1729. 2011.
S. Niimi, N. Suzuki, M. Inui and H. Yukawa.

We analyzed 1,2-propanediol (1,2-PD) production in metabolically engineered Corynebacterium glutamicum. Wild-type C. glutamicum produced 93 μM 1,2-PD after 132 h incubation under aerobic conditions. No gene encoding the methylglyoxal synthase (MGS) which catalyzes the first step of 1,2-PD synthesis from the glycolytic pathway was detected on the C. glutamicum genome, but several genes annotated as encoding putative aldo-keto reductases (AKRs) were present. AKR functions as a methylglyoxal reductase in the 1,2-PD synthesis pathway. Expressing Escherichia coli mgs gene in C. glutamicum increased 1,2-PD yield 100-fold, suggesting that wild-type C. glutamicum carries the genes downstream of MGS in the 1,2-PD synthesis pathway. Furthermore, simultaneous overexpression of mgs and cgR_2242, one of the genes annotated as AKRs, enhanced 1,2-PD production to 24 mM. This work establishes that 1,2-PD synthesis by C. glutamicum, previously unknown, is possible.