396061 Engineering synthetic microbial cell factories for fuels and green chemicals

Sunday, November 16, 2014
Galleria Exhibit Hall (Hilton Atlanta)
Peng Xu1, Mattheos A.G. Koffas2 and Gregor Stephanopoulos1, (1)Department of Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, (2)Chemical and Biological Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY

Global energy demand, rising petroleum prices and environmental concerns have stimulated increasing efforts to develop more sustainable and cost-effective approaches to produce carbon-neutral fuels and green chemicals. Exploitation of the diverse microbial pathways based on metabolic engineering and synthetic biology frameworks provides a promising solution to synthesis of fuel and pharmaceutical molecules that are previously derived from the petroleum-based resources. As an emerging discipline, synthetic biology is becoming increasingly important to design, construct and optimize metabolic pathways leading to desired overproduction phenotype. We will highlight some of our most recent efforts in applying synthetic biology tools such as combinatorial pathway engineering strategies to fine tune the expression level and balance various sections of a metabolic pathway. Some of the synthetic biology techniques that will be highlighted include the construction of the ePathBrick vectors that support the modular assembly of multi-gene metabolic pathways and development of synthetic malonyl-CoA switches that allow dynamic tuning of metabolic flux in E. coli. Efficient genome engineering tools such as CRISPR-cas9 directed multiplex combinatorial pathway engineering will also be covered. Applications of such strategies have resulted in the robust production of important compounds that are of particular interest to the pharmaceutical and biofuel industry.

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