Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Vol.114, No.12, 2947-2954, 2017
Impact of growth mode, phase, and rate on the metabolic state of the extremely thermophilic archaeon Pyrococcus furiosus
The archaeon Pyrococcus furiosus is emerging as a metabolic engineering platform for production of fuels and chemicals, such that more must be known about this organism's characteristics in bioprocessing contexts. Its ability to grow at temperatures from 70 to greater than 100 degrees C and thereby avoid contamination, offers the opportunity for long duration, continuous bioprocesses as an alternative to batch systems. Toward that end, we analyzed the transcriptome of P. furiosus to reveal its metabolic state during different growth modes that are relevant to bioprocessing. As cells progressed from exponential to stationary phase in batch cultures, genes involved in biosynthetic pathways important to replacing diminishing supplies of key nutrients and genes responsible for the onset of stress responses were up-regulated. In contrast, during continuous culture, the progression to higher dilution rates down-regulated many biosynthetic processes as nutrient supplies were increased. Most interesting was the contrast between batch exponential phase and continuous culture at comparable growth rates (similar to 0.4 hr(-1)), where over 200 genes were differentially transcribed, indicating among other things, N-limitation in the chemostat and the onset of oxidative stress. The results here suggest that cellular processes involved in carbon and electron flux in P. furiosus were significantly impacted by growth mode, phase and rate, factors that need to be taken into account when developing successful metabolic engineering strategies.