Due to the growing concerns on the climate change and sustainability on petrochemical resources, DOE selected and announced the bio-basecl top 12 building blocks and discussed the needs for developing biorefinery technologies to replace the current petroleum based industry in 2004. Over the last 10 years after its announcement, many studies have been performed for the development of efficient technologies for the bio-based production of these chemicals and derivatives. Now, ten chemicals among these Lop 12 chemicals, excluding the L-aspartic acid and 3-hydroxybutyrolactone, have already been commercialized or are close to commercialization. In this paper, we review the current status of biorefinery development for the production of these platform chemicals and their derivatives. In addition, current technological advances on industrial strain development for the production of platform chemicals using micro-organisms will be covered in detail with case studies on succinic acid and 3-hydroxypropionic acid as examples. (C) 2015 International Metabolic Engineering Society. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Microbial oil production by heterotrophic organisms is a promising path for the cost-effective production of biofuels from renewable resources provided high conversion yields can be achieved. To this end, we have engineered the oleaginous yeast Yarrowia lipolytica. We first established an expression platform for high expression using an intron-containing translation elongation factor-1 alpha (TEF) promoter and showed that this expression system is capable of increasing gene expression 17-fold over the intronless TEF promoter. We then used this platform for the overexpression of diacylglycerol acyltransferase (DGA1), the final step of the triglyceride (TAG) synthesis pathway, which yielded a 4-fold increase in lipid production over control, to a lipid content of 33.8% of dry cell weight (DCW). We also show that the overexpression of acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC1), the first committed step of fatty acid synthesis, increased lipid content 2-fold over control, or 17.9% lipid content. Next we combined the two genes in a tandem gene construct for the simultaneous coexpression of ACC1 and DGA1, which further increased lipid content to 41.4%, demonstrating synergistic effects of ACC1+DGA1 coexpression. The lipid production characteristics of the ACC1+DGA1 transformant were explored in a 2-L bioreactor fermentation, achieving 61.7% lipid content after 120 h. The overall yield and productivity were 0.195 g/g and 0.143 g/L/h, respectively, while the maximum yield and productivity were 0.270 g/g and 0.253 g/L/h during the lipid accumulation phase of the fermentation. This work demonstrates the excellent capacity for lipid production by the oleaginous yeast Y. lipolytica and the effects of metabolic engineering of two important steps of the lipid synthesis pathway, which acts to divert flux towards the lipid synthesis and creates driving force for TAG synthesis. (C) 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
CRISPR/Cas9 is a simple and efficient tool for targeted and marker-free genome engineering. Here, we report the development and successful application of a multiplex CRISPR/Cas9 system for genome engineering of up to 5 different genomic loci in one transformation step in baker's yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. To assess the specificity of the tool we employed genome re-sequencing to screen for off-target sites in all single knock-out strains targeted by different gRNAs. This extensive analysis identified no more genome variants in CRISPR/Cas9 engineered strains compared to wild-type reference strains. We applied our genome engineering tool for an exploratory analysis of all possible single, double, triple, quadruple and quintuple gene disruption combinations to search for strains with high mevalonate production, a key intermediate for the industrially important isoprenoicl biosynthesis pathway. Even though we did not overexpress any genes in the mevalonate pathway, this analysis identified strains with mevalonate titers greater than 41-fold compared to the wild-type strain. Our findings illustrate the applicability of this highly specific and efficient multiplex genome engineering approach to accelerate functional genomics and metabolic engineering efforts. (C) 2015 International Metabolic Engineering Society. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Conversion of carbohydrates to lipids at high yield and productivity is essential for cost-effective production of renewable biodiesel. Although some microorganisms can convert sugars to oils, conversion yields and rates are typically low due primarily to allosteric inhibition of the lipid biosynthetic pathway by saturated fatty acids. By reverse engineering the mammalian cellular obese phenotypes, we identified the delta-9 stearoyl-CoA desaturase (SCD) as a rate limiting step and target for the metabolic engineering of the lipid synthesis pathway in Yarrowin lipolytica. Simultaneous overexpression of SCD, Acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC1), and Diacylglyceride acyl-transferase (DGA1) in Y. lipolytica yielded an engineered strain exhibiting highly desirable phenotypes of fast cell growth and lipid overproduction including high carbon to lipid conversion yield (84.7% of theoretical maximal yield), high lipid titers (similar to 55 g/L), enhanced tolerance to glucose and cellulose-derived sugars. Moreover, the engineered strain featured a three-fold growth advantage over the wild type strain. As a result, a maximal lipid productivity of similar to 1 g/L/h is obtained during the stationary phase. Furthermore, we showed that the engineered yeast required cytoskeleton remodeling in eliciting the obesity phenotype. Altogether, our work describes the development of a microbial catalyst with the highest reported lipid yield, titer and productivity to date. This is an important step towards the development of an efficient and cost-effective process for biodiesel production from renewable resources. (C) 2015 International Metabolic Engineering Society. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Synthetic biology can significantly advance metabolic engineering by contributing tools (minimal hosts, vectors, genetic controllers, characterized enzymes). The development of these tools significantly reduced the costs and time to develop the antimalarial drug artemisinin, but the availability of more tools could have reduced these costs substantially. (C) 2012 Published by Elsevier Inc.
As the serious effects of global climate change become apparent and access to fossil fuels becomes more limited, metabolic engineers and synthetic biologists are looking towards greener sources for transportation fuels. In recent years, microbial production of high-energy fuels by economically efficient bioprocesses has emerged as an attractive alternative to the traditional production of transportation fuels. Here, we engineered the budding yeast Saccharornyces cerevisiae to produce fatty acid-derived biofuels and chemicals from simple sugars. Specifically, we overexpressed all three fatty acid biosynthesis genes, namely acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC1), fatty acid synthase 1 (FAS1) and fatty acid synthase 2 (FAS2), in S. cerevisiae. When coupled to triacylglycerol (TAG) production, the engineered strain accumulated lipid to more than 17% of its dry cell weight, a four-fold improvement over the control strain. Understanding that TAG cannot be used directly as fuels, we also engineered S. cerevisiae to produce drop-in fuels and chemicals. Altering the terminal "converting enzyme" in the engineered strain led to the production of free fatty acids at a titer of approximately 400 mg/L, fatty alcohols at approximately 100 mg/L and fatty acid ethyl esters (biocliesel) at approximately 5 mg/L directly from simple sugars. We envision that our approach will provide a scalable, controllable and economic route to this important class of chemicals. (C) 2013 International Metabolic Engineering Society. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Conversion of carbohydrates to lipids at high yield and productivity is essential for cost-effective production of renewable biodiesel. Although some microorganisms can convert sugars to oils, conversion yields and rates are typically low due primarily to allosteric inhibition of the lipid biosynthetic pathway by saturated fatty acids. By reverse engineering the mammalian cellular obese phenotypes, we identified the delta-9 stearoyl-CoA desaturase (SCD) as a rate limiting step and target for the metabolic engineering of the lipid synthesis pathway in Yarrowia lipolytica. Simultaneous overexpression of SCD, Acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC1), and Diacylglyceride acyl-transferase (DGA1) in Y. lipolytica yielded an engineered strain exhibiting highly desirable phenotypes of fast cell growth and lipid overproduction including high carbon to lipid conversion yield (84.7% of theoretical maximal yield), high lipid titers (~55g/L), enhanced tolerance to glucose and cellulose-derived sugars. Moreover, the engineered strain featured a three-fold growth advantage over the wild type strain. As a result, a maximal lipid productivity of ~1g/L/h is obtained during the stationary phase. Furthermore, we showed that the engineered yeast required cytoskeleton remodeling in eliciting the obesity phenotype. Altogether, our work describes the development of a microbial catalyst with the highest reported lipid yield, titer and productivity to date. This is an important step towards the development of an efficient and cost-effective process for biodiesel production from renewable resources.
Engineering cellular metabolism for improved production of valuable chemicals requires extensive modulation of bacterial genome to explore complex genetic spaces. Here, we report the development of a CRISPR-Cas9 based method for iterative genome editing and metabolic engineering of Escherichia coli This system enables us to introduce various types of genomic modifications with near 100% editing efficiency and to introduce three mutations simultaneously. We also found that cells with intact mismatch repair system had reduced chance to escape CRISPR mediated cleavage and yielded increased editing efficiency. To demonstrate its potential, we used our method to integrate the beta-carotene synthetic pathway into the genome and to optimize the methylerythritol-phosphate (MEP) pathway and central metabolic pathways for beta-carotene overproduction. We collectively tested 33 genomic modifications and constructed more than 100 genetic variants for combinatorially exploring the metabolic landscape. Our best producer contained15 targeted mutations and produced 2.0 g/L beta-carotene in fed-batch fermentation. (C) 2015 International Metabolic Engineering Society. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Metabolites, substrates and substrate impurities may be toxic to cells by damaging biological molecules, organelles, membranes or disrupting biological processes. Chemical stress is routinely encountered in bioprocessing to produce chemicals or fuels from renewable substrates, in whole-cell biocatalysis and bioremediation. Cells respond, adapt and may develop tolerance to chemicals by mechanisms only partially explored, especially for multiple simultaneous stresses. More is known about how cells respond to chemicals, but less about how to develop tolerant strains. Aiming to stimulate new metabolic engineering and synthetic-biology approaches for tolerant-strain development, this review takes a holistic, comparative and modular approach in bringing together the large literature on genes, programs, mechanisms, processes and molecules involved in chemical stressor imparting tolerance. These include stress proteins and transcription factors, efflux pumps, altered membrane composition, stress-adapted energy metabolism, chemical detoxification, and accumulation of small-molecule chaperons and compatible solutes. The modular organization (by chemicals, mechanism, organism, and methods used) imparts flexibility in exploring this complex literature, while comparative analyses point to hidden commonalities, such as an oxidative stress response underlying some solvent and carboxylic-acid stress. Successes involving one or a few genes, as well as global genomic approaches are reviewed with an eye to future developments that would engage novel genomic and systems-biology tools to create altered or semi-synthetic strains with superior tolerance characteristics for bioprocessing. (C) 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Limonene is a valuable monoterpene used in the production of several commodity chemicals and medicinal compounds. Among them, perillyl alcohol (FOR) is a promising anti-cancer agent that can be produced by hydroxylation of limonene. We engineered E. coli with a heterologous mevalonate pathway and limonene synthase for production of limonene followed by coupling with a cytochrome P450, which specifically hydroxylates limonene to produce FOR. A strain containing all mevalonate pathway genes in a single plasmid produced limonene at titers over 400 mg/L from glucose, substantially higher than has been achieved in the past. Incorporation of a cytochrome P450 to hydroxylate limonene yielded approximately 100 mg/L of FOR. Further metabolic engineering of the pathway and in situ product recovery using anion exchange resins would make this engineered E. cob a potential production platform for any valuable limonene derivative. (C) 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Here, we describe the development of a genetically defined strain of L-lysine hyperproducing Corynebacterium glutamicum by systems metabolic engineering of the wild type. Implementation of only 12 defined genome-based changes in genes encoding central metabolic enzymes redirected major carbon fluxes as desired towards the optimal pathway usage predicted by in silico modeling. The final engineered C. glutamicum strain was able to produce lysine with a high yield of 0.55 g per gram of glucose, a titer of 120 g L-1 lysine and a productivity of 4.0 g L-1 h(-1) in fed-batch culture. The specific glucose uptake rate of the wild type could be completely maintained during the engineering process, providing a highly viable producer. For these key criteria, the genetically defined strain created in this study lies at the maximum limit of classically derived producers developed over the last fifty years. This is the first report of a rationally derived lysine production strain that may be competitive with industrial applications. The design-based strategy for metabolic engineering reported here could serve as general concept for the rational development of microorganisms as efficient cellular factories for bio-production. (C) 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Compared to ethanol, butanol offers many advantages as a substitute for gasoline because of higher energy content and higher hydrophobicity. Typically, 1-butanol is produced by Clostridium in a mixed-product fermentation. To facilitate strain improvement for specificity and productivity, we engineered a synthetic pathway in Escherichia coli and demonstrated the production of 1-butanol from this non-native user-friendly host. Alternative genes and competing pathway deletions were evaluated for 1-butanol production. Results show promise for using E. coli for 1-butanol production. (C) 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The concept of "photosynthetic biofuels'' envisions application of a single organism, acting both as photo-catalyst and producer of ready-made fuel. This concept was applied upon genetic engineering of the cyanobacterium Synechocystis, conferring the ability to generate volatile isoprene hydrocarbons from CO2 and H2O. Heterologous expression of the Pueraria montana (kudzu) isoprene synthase (IspS) gene in Synechocystis enabled photosynthetic isoprene generation in these cyanobacteria. Codon-use optimization of the kudzu IspS gene improved expression of the isoprene synthase in Synechocystis. Use of the photosynthesis psbA2 promoter, to drive the expression of the IspS gene, resulted in a light-intensity-dependent isoprene synthase expression. Results showed that oxygenic photosynthesis can be re-directed to generate useful small volatile hydrocarbons, while consuming CO2, without a prior requirement for the harvesting, dewatering and processing of the respective biomass. (C) 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Cell-free synthetic biology is emerging as a powerful approach aimed to understand, harness, and expand the capabilities of natural biological systems without using intact cells. Cell-free systems bypass cell walls and remove genetic regulation to enable direct access to the inner workings of the cell. The unprecedented level of control and freedom of design, relative to in vivo systems, has inspired the rapid development of engineering foundations for cell-free systems in recent years. These efforts have led to programmed circuits, spatially organized pathways, co-activated catalytic ensembles, rational optimization of synthetic multi-enzyme pathways, and linear scalability from the micro-liter to the 100-liter scale. It is now clear that cell-free systems offer a versatile test-bed for understanding why nature's designs work the way they do and also for enabling biosynthetic routes to novel chemicals, sustainable fuels, and new classes of tunable materials. While challenges remain, the emergence of cell-free systems is poised to open the way to novel products that until now have been impractical, if not impossible, to produce by other means. (C) 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
One of the key drivers for successful metabolic engineering in microbes is the efficacy by which genomes can be edited. As such there are many methods to choose from when aiming to modify genomes, especially those of model organisms like yeast and bacteria. In recent years, clustered regularly interspaced palindromic repeats (CRISPR) and its associated proteins (Cas) have become the method of choice for precision genome engineering in many organisms due to their orthogonality, versatility and efficacy. Here we review the strategies adopted for implementation of RNA-guided CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing with special emphasis on their application for metabolic engineering of yeast and bacteria. Also, examples of how nuclease-deficient Cas9 has been applied for RNA-guided transcriptional regulation of target genes will be reviewed, as well as tools available for computer-aided design of guide-RNAs will be highlighted. Finally, this review will provide a perspective on the immediate challenges and opportunities foreseen by the use of CRISPR/Cas9 genome engineering and regulation in the context of metabolic engineering. (C) 2015 International Metabolic Engineering Society. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Industrial biotechnology promises to revolutionize conventional chemical manufacturing in the years ahead, largely owing to the excellent progress in our ability to re-engineer cellular metabolism. However, most successes of metabolic engineering have been confined to over-producing natively synthesized metabolites in E. coli. and S. cerevisiae. A major reason for this development has been the descent of metabolic engineering, particularly secondary metabolic engineering, to a collection of demonstrations rather than a systematic practice with generalizable tools. Synthetic biology, a more recent development, faces similar criticisms. Herein, we attempt to lay down a framework around which bioreaction engineering can systematize itself just like chemical reaction engineering. Central to this undertaking is a new approach to engineering secondary metabolism known as 'multivariate modular metabolic engineering' (MMME), whose novelty lies in its assessment and elimination of regulatory and pathway bottlenecks by re-defining the metabolic network as a collection of distinct modules. After introducing the core principles of MMME, we shall then present a number of recent developments in secondary metabolic engineering that could potentially serve as its facilitators. It is hoped that the ever-declining costs of de novo gene synthesis; the improved use of bioinformatic tools to mine, sort and analyze biological data; and the increasing sensitivity and sophistication of investigational tools will make the maturation of microbial metabolic engineering an autocatalytic process. Encouraged by these advances, research groups across the world would take up the challenge of secondary metabolite production in simple hosts with renewed vigor, thereby adding to the range of products synthesized using metabolic engineering. (C) 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Oleaginous microbes represent an attractive means of converting a diverse range of feedstocks into oils that can be transesterified to biodiesel. However, the mechanism of lipid overproduction in these organisms is incompletely understood, hindering the development of strategies for engineering superior biocatalysts for "single-cell oil" production. In particular, it is unclear which pathways are used to generate the large quantities of NADPH required for overproduction of the highly reduced fatty acid species. While early studies implicated malic enzyme as having a key role in production of lipogenic NADPH in oleaginous fungi, several recent reports have cast doubts as to whether malic enzyme may contribute to production of lipogenic NADPH in the model oleaginous yeast Yarrowia lipolytica. To address this problem we have used C-13-Metabolic Flux Analysis to estimate the metabolic flux distributions during lipid accumulation in two Y. lipolytica strains; a control strain and a previously published engineered strain capable of producing lipids at roughly twice the yield. We observe a dramatic rearrangement of the metabolic flux distribution in the engineered strain which supports lipid overproduction. The NADPH-producing flux through the oxidative Pentose Phosphate Pathway is approximately doubled in the engineered strain in response to the roughly two-fold increase in fatty acid biosynthesis, while the flux through malic enzyme does not differ significantly between the two strains. Moreover, the estimated rate of NADPH production in the oxidative Pentose Phosphate Pathway is in good agreement with the estimated rate of NADPH consumption in fatty acid biosynthesis in both strains. These results suggest the oxidative Pentose Phosphate Pathway is the primary source of lipogenic NADPH in Y. Iipolytica. (C) 2015 International Metabolic Engineering Society. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Production of chemicals and fuels directly from CO2 is an attractive approach to solving the energy and environmental problems. 1-Butanol, a chemical feedstock and potential fuel, has been produced by fermentation of carbohydrates, both in native Clostridium species and various engineered hosts. To produce 1-butanol from CO2, we transferred a modified CoA-dependent 1-butanol production pathway into a cyanobacterium, Synechococcus elongatus PCC 7942. We demonstrated the activity of each enzyme in the pathway by chromosomal integration and expression of the genes. In particular, Treponema denticola trans-enoyl-CoA reductase (Ter), which utilizes NADH as the reducing power, was used for the reduction of crotonyl-CoA to butyryl-CoA instead of Clostridium acetobutylicum butyryl-CoA dehydrogenase to by-pass the need of Clostridial ferredoxins. Addition of polyhistidine-tag increased the overall activity of Ter and resulted in higher 1-butanol production. Removal of oxygen is an important factor in the synthesis of 1-butanol in this organism. This result represents the first autotrophic 1-butanol production. (C) 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Methane, as natural gas or biogas, is the least expensive source of carbon for (bio)chemical synthesis. Scalable biological upgrading of this simple alkane to chemicals and fuels can bring new sustainable solutions to a number of industries with large environmental footprints, such as natural gas/petroleum production, landfills, wastewater treatment, and livestock. Microbial biocatalysis with methane as a feedstock has been pursued off and on for almost a half century, with little enduring success. Today, biological engineering and systems biology provide new opportunities for metabolic system modulation and give new optimism to the concept of a methane-based bio-industry. Here we present an overview of the most recent advances pertaining to metabolic engineering of microbial methane utilization. Some ideas concerning metabolic improvements for production of acetyl-CoA and pyruvate, two main precursors for bioconversion, are presented. We also discuss main gaps in the current knowledge of aerobic methane utilization, which must be solved in order to release the full potential of methane-based biosystems. (C) 2015 International Metabolic Engineering Society. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Xylose is the main pentose and second most abundant sugar in lignocellulosic feedstocks. To improve xylose utilization, necessary for the cost-effective bioconversion of lignocellulose, several metabolic engineering approaches have been employed in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In this study, we describe the rational metabolic engineering of a S. cerevisiae strain, including overexpression of the Piromyces xylose isomerase gene (XYLA), Pichia stipitis xylulose kinase (XYL3) and genes of the non-oxidative pentose phosphate pathway (PPP). This engineered strain (H131-A3) was used to initialize a three-stage process of evolutionary engineering, through first aerobic and anaerobic sequential batch cultivation followed by growth in a xylose-limited chemostat. The evolved strain H131-A3-AL(CS) displayed significantly increased anaerobic growth rate (0.203 +/- 0.006 h(-1)) and xylose consumption rate (1.866 g g(-1) h(-1)) along with high ethanol conversion yield (0.41 g/g). These figures exceed by a significant margin any other performance metrics on xylose utilization and ethanol production by S. cerevisiae reported to-date. Further inverse metabolic engineering based on functional complementation suggested that efficient xylose assimilation is attributed, in part, to the elevated expression level of xylose isomerase, which was accomplished through the multiple-copy integration of XYLA in the chromosome of the evolved strain. (c) 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.