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Metabolic engineering strategies applied over the last two decades to produce shikimate (SA) in Escherichia coli have resulted in a battery of strains bearing many expression systems. However, the effects that these systems have on the host physiology and how they impact the production of SA are still not well understood. In this work we utilized an engineered E. coli strain to determine the consequences of carrying a vector that promotes SA production from glucose with a high yield but that is also expected to impose a significant cellular burden. Kinetic comparisons in fermentors showed that instead of exerting a negative effect, the sole presence of the plasmid increased glucose consumption without diminishing the growth rate. By constitutively expressing a biosynthetic operon from this vector, the more active glycolytic metabolism was exploited to redirect intermediates towards the production of SA, which further increased the glucose consumption rate and avoided excess acetate production. Fluxomics and metabolomics experiments revealed a global remodeling of the carbon and energy metabolism in the production strain, where the increased SA production reduced the carbon available for oxidative and fermentative pathways. Moreover, the results showed that the production of SA relies on a specific setup of the PPP, where both its oxidative and non‐oxidative branches are strongly activated to supply E4P and balance the NADPH requirements. This work improves our understanding of the metabolic reorganization observed in E. coli in response to the plasmid‐based expression of the SA biosynthetic pathway. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
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