Metabolic engineering of Methylorubrum extorquens AM1 for poly (3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) production using formate

Jihee Yoon, Woojin Chang, Seung Hwan Oh, Soo Hyung Choi, Yung Hun Yang, Min Kyu Oh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Formate is a promising environmentally friendly and sustainable feedstock synthesized from syngas or carbon dioxide. Methylorubrum extorquens is a type II methylotroph that can use formate as a carbon source. It accumulates polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) inside the cell, mainly producing poly-3-hydroxybutyrate (PHB), a degradable biopolymer. Owing to its high melting point and stiff nature, however, mechanical property improvement is warranted in the form of copolymerization. To produce the PHA copolymer, poly (3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) (PHBV), the endogenous gene phaC was deleted and the pathway genes bktB, phaJ1, and phaC2, with broader substrate specificities, were heterologously expressed. To improve the incorporation of 3-hydroxyvalerate (3HV), the expression level of bktB was improved by untranslated region (UTR) engineering, and the endogenous gene phaA was deleted. The engineered M. extorquens produced PHBV with 8.9% 3HV using formate as the sole carbon source. In addition, when propionate and butyrate were supplemented, PHBVs with 3HV portions of up to 70.6% were produced. This study shows that a PHBV copolymer with a high proportion of 3HV can be synthesized using formate, a C1 carbon source, through metabolic engineering and supplementation with short-chain fatty acids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284-293
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Biological Macromolecules
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Apr 30

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT, South Korea ( 2015M3D3A1A01064919 and 2012M1A2A2026560 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier B.V.


  • Formate
  • Metabolic engineering
  • Methylorubrum extorquens AM1
  • PHBV copolymer
  • SCFAs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • General Energy


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