Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 4

Metabolic Engineering Related Abstracts

4 Efficient Estimation of Maximum Theoretical Productivity from Batch Cultures via Dynamic Optimization of Flux Balance Models

Authors: Peter C. St. John, Michael F. Crowley, Yannick J. Bomble


Production of chemicals from engineered organisms in a batch culture typically involves a trade-off between productivity, yield, and titer. However, strategies for strain design typically involve designing mutations to achieve the highest yield possible while maintaining growth viability. Such approaches tend to follow the principle of designing static networks with minimum metabolic functionality to achieve desired yields. While these methods are computationally tractable, optimum productivity is likely achieved by a dynamic strategy, in which intracellular fluxes change their distribution over time. One can use multi-stage fermentations to increase either productivity or yield. Such strategies would range from simple manipulations (aerobic growth phase, anaerobic production phase), to more complex genetic toggle switches. Additionally, some computational methods can also be developed to aid in optimizing two-stage fermentation systems. One can assume an initial control strategy (i.e., a single reaction target) in maximizing productivity - but it is unclear how close this productivity would come to a global optimum. The calculation of maximum theoretical yield in metabolic engineering can help guide strain and pathway selection for static strain design efforts. Here, we present a method for the calculation of a maximum theoretical productivity of a batch culture system. This method follows the traditional assumptions of dynamic flux balance analysis: that internal metabolite fluxes are governed by a pseudo-steady state and external metabolite fluxes are represented by dynamic system including Michealis-Menten or hill-type regulation. The productivity optimization is achieved via dynamic programming, and accounts explicitly for an arbitrary number of fermentation stages and flux variable changes. We have applied our method to succinate production in two common microbial hosts: E. coli and A. succinogenes. The method can be further extended to calculate the complete productivity versus yield Pareto surface. Our results demonstrate that nearly optimal yields and productivities can indeed be achieved with only two discrete flux stages.

Keywords: Metabolic Engineering, E. coli, succinate, A. succinogenes, metabolite fluxes, multi-stage fermentations

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3 Conversion of Glycerol to 3-Hydroxypropanoic Acid by Genetically Engineered Bacillus subtilis

Authors: Tao Chen, Aida Kalantari, Boyang Ji, Ivan Mijakovic


3-hydroxypropanoic acid (3-HP) is one of the most important biomass-derivable platform chemicals that can be converted into a number of industrially important compounds. There have been several attempts at production of 3-HP from renewable sources in cell factories, focusing mainly on Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Despite the significant progress made in this field, commercially exploitable large-scale production of 3-HP in microbial strains has still not been achieved. In this study, we investigated the potential of Bacillus subtilis to be used as a microbial platform for bioconversion of glycerol into 3-HP. Our recombinant B. subtilis strains overexpress the two-step heterologous pathway containing glycerol dehydratase and aldehyde dehydrogenase from various backgrounds. The recombinant strains harboring the codon-optimized synthetic pathway from K. pneumoniae produced low levels of 3-HP. Since the enzymes in the heterologous pathway are sensitive to oxygen, we had to perform our experiments in micro-aerobic conditions. Under these conditions, the cell produces lactate in order to regenerate NAD+, and we found the lactate production to be in competition with the production of 3-HP. Therefore, based on the in silico predictions, we knocked out the glycerol kinase (glpk), which in combination with growth on glucose, resulted in improving the 3-HP titer to 1 g/L and the removal of lactate. Cultivation of the same strain in an enriched medium improved the 3-HP titer up to 7.6 g/L. Our findings provide the first report of successful introduction of the biosynthetic pathway for conversion of glycerol into 3-HP in B. subtilis.

Keywords: Metabolic Engineering, glycerol, Bacillus subtilis

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2 Microbial Bioproduction with Design of Metabolism and Enzyme Engineering

Authors: Tomokazu Shirai, Akihiko Kondo


Technologies of metabolic engineering or synthetic biology are essential for effective microbial bioproduction. It is especially important to develop an in silico tool for designing a metabolic pathway producing an unnatural and valuable chemical such as fossil materials of fuel or plastics. We here demonstrated two in silico tools for designing novel metabolic pathways: BioProV and HyMeP. Furthermore, we succeeded in creating an artificial metabolic pathway by enzyme engineering.

Keywords: Bioinformatics, Synthetic biology, Metabolic Engineering, genome scale model

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1 Evaluating the Potential of a Fast Growing Indian Marine Cyanobacterium by Reconstructing and Analysis of a Genome Scale Metabolic Model

Authors: Ahmad Ahmad, Ruchi Pathania, Shireesh Srivastava


Cyanobacteria is a promising microbe that can capture and convert atmospheric CO₂ and light into valuable industrial bio-products like biofuels, biodegradable plastics, etc. Among their most attractive traits are faster autotrophic growth, whole year cultivation using non-arable land, high photosynthetic activity, much greater biomass and productivity and easy for genetic manipulations. Cyanobacteria store carbon in the form of glycogen which can be hydrolyzed to release glucose and fermented to form bioethanol or other valuable products. Marine cyanobacterial species are especially attractive for countries with scarcity of freshwater. We recently identified a marine native cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. BDU 130192 which has good growth rate and high level of polyglucans accumulation compared to Synechococcus PCC 7002. In this study, firstly we sequenced the whole genome and the sequences were annotated using the RAST server. Genome scale metabolic model (GSMM) was reconstructed through COBRA toolbox. GSMM is a computational representation of the metabolic reactions and metabolites of the target strain. GSMMs construction through the application of Flux Balance Analysis (FBA), which uses external nutrient uptake rates and estimate steady state intracellular and extracellular reaction fluxes, including maximization of cell growth. The model, which we have named isyn942, includes 942 reactions and 913 metabolites having 831 metabolic, 78 transport and 33 exchange reactions. The phylogenetic tree obtained by BLAST search revealed that the strain was a close relative of Synechococcus PCC 7002. The flux balance analysis (FBA) was applied on the model iSyn942 to predict the theoretical yields (mol product produced/mol CO₂ consumed) for native and non-native products like acetone, butanol, etc. under phototrophic condition by applying metabolic engineering strategies. The reported strain can be a viable strain for biotechnological applications, and the model will be helpful to researchers interested in understanding the metabolism as well as to design metabolic engineering strategies for enhanced production of various bioproducts.

Keywords: Metabolic Engineering, Cyanobacteria, Flux Balance Analysis, genome scale metabolic model

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