We have previously reported in vivo biosynthesis of 2-hydroxyacid containing polyesters including polylactic acid (PLA), poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-lactate) [P(3HB-co-LA)], and poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-2-hydroxybutyrate-co-lactate) [P(3HB-co-2HB-co-LA)] employing metabolically engineered Escherichia coil strains by the introduction of evolved Clostridium propionicum propionyl-CoA transferase (Pct(Cp)) and Pseudomonas sp. MBEL 6-19 polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) synthase I (PhaC1(Ps6-19)). In this study, we further engineered in vivo PLA biosynthesis system in E. coil to synthesize 2HB-containing PHA, in which propionyl-CoA was used as precursor for 2-ketobutyrate that was converted into 2HB-00A by the sequential actions of Lactococcus lactis (a)-2-hydroxybutyrate dehydrogenase (PanE) and Pct(Cp) and then 2HB-00A was polymerized by PhaC1(Ps6-19). The recombinant E. coli XL1-blue expressing the phaC1437 gene, the pct540 gene, and the Ralstonia eutropha prpE gene together with the panE gene could be grown to 0.66 g/L and successfully produced P(70 mol%3HB-co-18 mol%2HB-co-12 mol%LA) up to the PHA content of 66 wt% from 20 g/L of glucose, 2 g/L of 3 HB and 1 g/L of sodium propionate. Removal of the prpC gene in the chromosome of E. coli XLI -blue could increase the mole fraction of 2HB in copolymer, but the PHA content was decreased. The metabolic engineering strategy reported here suggests that propionyl-CoA can be successfully used as the precursor to provide PHA synthase with 2HB-CoA for the production of PHAs containing 2HB monomer. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.