Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 8262915
J. Biol. Chem. 1993 Dec;268(36):26827-35
We report that expansion of thioether biosynthesis in Escherichia coli generates sulfur-containing amino acids that can replace meso-diaminopimelate, the essential amino acid used for cross-linking the cell wall. This was accomplished by jointly overexpressing the metB gene coding for L-cystathionine gamma-synthase and disrupting the metC gene, whose product, L-cystathionine beta-lyase, is responsible for the destruction of L-cystathionine and other L-cysteine thioethers. As a result, meso-lanthionine and L-allo-cystathionine were produced endogenously and incorporated in the peptidoglycan, thereby enabling E. coli strains auxotrophic for diaminopimelate to grow in its absence. Thus, current techniques of metabolic engineering can be applied to evolving the chemical constitution of living cells beyond its present state.