The groups of Professor Naoki TAKAYA from Tsukuba University and Ass. Professor Tatsuo KANEKO from JAIST have engineered the shikimate pathway in E. coli to overproduce 4-aminocinnamic acid which can be photopolymerized to a heat-stable polyimine. To this end, a gene coding for the production of 4-amino phenylpyruvic acid from chorismic acid (papABC), occuring in the biosynthetic pathway for pristinamycin I (Streptomyces spirinaespiralis), was engineered into an E. coli pathway including a transaminase and phenylalanine lyase gene. Various copolymers based on 4-aminocinnamic acid were already prepared and characterized.

JST news release, February 14, 2014