L-Valine can be formed successfully using C. glutamicum strains missing an active pyruvate dehydrogenase enzyme complex (PDHC). Wild-type C. glutamicum and four PDHC-deficient strains were compared by (13)C metabolic flux analysis, especially focusing on the split ratio between glycolysis and the pentose phosphate pathway (PPP). Compared to the wild type, showing a carbon flux of 69\% ± 14\% through the PPP, a strong increase in the PPP flux was observed in PDHC-deficient strains with a maximum of 113\% ± 22\%. The shift in the split ratio can be explained by an increased demand of NADPH for l-valine formation. In accordance, the introduction of the Escherichia coli transhydrogenase PntAB, catalyzing the reversible conversion of NADH to NADPH, into an L-valine-producing C. glutamicum strain caused the PPP flux to decrease to 57\% ± 6\%, which is below the wild-type split ratio. Hence, transhydrogenase activity offers an alternative perspective for sufficient NADPH supply, which is relevant for most amino acid production systems. Moreover, as demonstrated for L-valine, this bypass leads to a significant increase of product yield due to a concurrent reduction in carbon dioxide formation via the PPP.
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