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Dynamic metabolic control: towards precision engineering of metabolism

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-543
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Industrial Microbiology & Biotechnology
Volume45
Issue number7
Early online date29 Jan 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018

Abstract

Advances in metabolic engineering have led to the synthesis of a wide variety of valuable chemicals in microorganisms. The key to commercializing these processes is the improvement of titer, productivity, yield, and robustness. Traditional approaches to enhancing production use the “push–pull-block” strategy that modulates enzyme expression under static control. However, strains are often optimized for specific laboratory set-up and are sensitive to environmental fluctuations. Exposure to sub-optimal growth conditions during large-scale fermentation often reduces their production capacity. Moreover, static control of engineered pathways may imbalance cofactors or cause the accumulation of toxic intermediates, which imposes burden on the host and results in decreased production. To overcome these problems, the last decade has witnessed the emergence of a new technology that uses synthetic regulation to control heterologous pathways dynamically, in ways akin to regulatory networks found in nature. Here, we review natural metabolic control strategies and recent developments in how they inspire the engineering of dynamically regulated pathways. We further discuss the challenges of designing and engineering dynamic control and highlight how model-based design can provide a powerful formalism to engineer dynamic control circuits, which together with the tools of synthetic biology, can work to enhance microbial production.

    Research areas

  • Dynamic metabolic control, Genetic circuits, Biosensors, Synthetic biology, Model-based design

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