Improved Yield of Recombinant Protein via Flagella Regulator Deletion in Escherichia coli

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Protein production requires a significant amount of intracellular energy. Eliminating the flagella has been proposed to help Escherichia coli improve protein production by reducing energy consumption. In this study, the gene encoding a subunit of FlhC, a master regulator of flagella assembly, was deleted to reduce the expression of flagella-related genes. FlhC knockout in the ptsG-deleted strain triggered significant growth retardation with increased ATP levels and a higher NADPH/NADP+ ratio. Metabolic flux analysis using a 13C-labeled carbon substrate showed increased fluxes toward the pentose phosphate and tricarboxylic acid cycle pathways in the flhC- and ptsG-deleted strains. Introduction of a high copy number plasmid or overexpression of the recombinant protein in this strain restored growth rate without increasing glucose consumption. These results suggest that the metabolic burden caused by flhC deletion was resolved by recombinant protein production. The recombinant enhanced green fluorescent protein yield per glucose consumption increased 1.81-fold in the flhC mutant strain. Thus, our study demonstrates that high-yield production of the recombinant protein was achieved with reduced flagella formation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number655072
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Mar 15

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by a the Korea University Grant and the National Research Foundation of Korea, funded by the Korean Government (2012M1A2A2026560).

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright © 2021 Han, Jung and Oh.


  • ATP
  • C metabolic flux analysis
  • flagella
  • recombinant protein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)


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