Into new territory: improved microbial synthesis through engineering of the essential metabolic network.
Advances in synthetic biology and metabolic engineering offer the promise of next generation bioprocesses to produce numerous products including specialty and bulk chemicals and even biofuels sustainably from renewable feedstocks. A primary challenge is the optimization of product flux, within a much larger and complex metabolic network. While simple gene deletion methods can be used in the case of non-essential byproduct pathways, more sophisticated approaches are required when competitive fluxes are essential to host cellular functions. Engineering essential metabolic networks has been traditionally off-limits to metabolic engineers. Newer approaches to be reviewed include the rebalancing or rewiring of the metabolic network by tuning the levels of essential enzymes and the use of dynamic metabolic control strategies to conditionally reduce essential competitive fluxes.
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