Emerging species and genome editing tools: Future prospects in Cyanobacterial synthetic biology

Grant A. R. Gale, Alejandra Schiavon osorio, Lauren A. Mills, Baojun Wang, David J. Lea-Smith, Alistair J. McCormick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Recent advances in synthetic biology and an emerging algal biotechnology market have spurred a prolific increase in the availability of molecular tools for cyanobacterial research. Nevertheless, work to date has focused primarily on only a small subset of model species, which arguably limits fundamental discovery and applied research towards wider commercialisation. Here, we review the requirements for uptake of new strains, including several recently characterised fast-growing species and promising non-model species. Furthermore, we discuss the potential applications of new techniques available for transformation, genetic engineering and regulation, including an up-to-date appraisal of current Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats/CRISPR associated protein (CRISPR/Cas) and CRISPR interference (CRISPRi) research in cyanobacteria. We also provide an overview of several exciting molecular tools that could be ported to cyanobacteria for more advanced metabolic engineering approaches (e.g., genetic circuit design). Lastly, we introduce a forthcoming mutant library for the model species Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 that promises to provide a further powerful resource for the cyanobacterial research community.
Original languageEnglish
Article number409
Pages (from-to)1-36
Number of pages36
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 29 Sept 2019

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • CRISPR/Cas
  • genetic circuits
  • genome engineering
  • inteins
  • genome-scale models
  • mutant library
  • optogenetics
  • serine integrase
  • sigma factors
  • synthetic biology


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