ShikiFactory100 project aims to produce a collection of over 100 high-value compounds
from the shikimate pathway, a metabolic pathway widely used by organisms in
nature (e.g. bacteria, fungi and plants) to synthesise the aromatic amino acids
(AAAs) phenylalanine (Phe), tryptophan (Trp) and tyrosine (Tyr).
These AAAs are important precursors for the production of cell metabolites and
other intermediates, which serve as branch points for the production of many interesting
and valuable compounds.
more about what is meant by cell metabolism, amino acids and the shikimate pathway click here.
many compounds derived from the shikimate pathway are used in food,
pharmaceutical and cosmetic applications. They may be extracted directly from the
organisms in which they are made (i.e. biomass extraction), but this tends to
be costly due to low concentrations of target molecules typically present in natural
feedstocks. Chemical synthesis on the other hand, is a more efficient and
cost-effective method of manufacturing these compounds, however it is often
associated with undesirable by-products and the use of non-renewable, oil-derived
microbial production of complex chemicals offers an alternative to extraction
and chemical synthesis. It involves the use of host organisms (also known as cell
factories) to produce target molecules of bio-based origin. In nature,
organisms may be able to produce a limited selection of target compounds from established
biosynthetic pathways. However, through the intelligent redesign of metabolic
pathways and cell chassis, microbes
can become equipped to manufacture a wide range of possible chemicals for use in
various applications. The ShikiFactory100 project aims to apply these same
principles to the shikimate pathway, using S. cerevisiae and E. coli as
host organisms to manufacture a collection of over 100 high-value compounds.
The redesign of organisms
and their metabolic pathways can be explained by synthetic biology,
a multidisciplinary area of research that applies principles of engineering and
computing to biology, for the creation of novel biological systems that do not
exist in the natural world. The ShikiFactory100 project will employ synthetic
biology to generate novel pathways for the production of many interesting and
valuable compounds. In order to understand how synthetic biology will be used in
the ShikiFactory100 project, it is useful to gain an understanding into the background
of this subject area.
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