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Improving Biochemical Production in Escherichia coli through Nutrient Limitation

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Escherichia coli is a bacterium that is used widely in metabolic engineering due to its ability to grow at a fast rate and to be cultured easily. E. coli can be engineered to produce many valuable chemicals, including biofuels and

Escherichia coli is a bacterium that is used widely in metabolic engineering due to its ability to grow at a fast rate and to be cultured easily. E. coli can be engineered to produce many valuable chemicals, including biofuels and L-Phenylalanine—a precursor to many pharmaceuticals. Significant cell growth occurs in parallel to the biosynthesis of the desired biofuel or biochemical product, and limits product concentrations and yields. Stopping cell growth can improve chemical production since more resources will go toward chemical production than toward biomass. The goal of the project is to test different methods of controlling microbial uptake of nutrients, specifically phosphate, to dynamically limit cell growth and improve biochemical production of E. coli, and the research has the potential to promote public health, sustainability, and environment. This can be achieved by targeting phosphate transporter genes using CRISPRi and CRISPR, and they will limit the uptake of phosphate by targeting the phosphate transporter genes in DNA, which will stop transcriptions of the genes. In the experiment, NST74∆crr∆pykAF, a L-Phe overproducer, was used as the base strain, and the pitA phosphate transporter gene was targeted in the CRISPRi and CRISPR systems with the strain with other phosphate transporters knocked out. The tested CRISPRi and CRISPR mechanisms did not stop cell growth or improved L-Phe production. Further research will be conducted to determine the problem of the system. In addition, the CRISPRi and CRISPR systems that target multiple phosphate transporter genes will be tested in the future as well as the other method of stopping transcriptions of the phosphate transporter genes, which is called a tunable toggle switch mechanism.

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2018-05

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Engineering a Co-culture System for Co-utilization of Lignocellulose-derived Sugars for Improved Biomass Conversion

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The inability of a single strain of bacteria to simultaneously and completely consume multiple sugars, such as glucose and xylose, hinder industrial microbial processes for ethanol and lactate production. To overcome this limitation, I am engineering an E. coli co-culture

The inability of a single strain of bacteria to simultaneously and completely consume multiple sugars, such as glucose and xylose, hinder industrial microbial processes for ethanol and lactate production. To overcome this limitation, I am engineering an E. coli co-culture system consisting of two ‘specialists'. One has the ability to only consume xylose and the other only glucose. This allows for co-utilization of lignocellulose-derived sugars so both sugars are completely consumed, residence time is reduced and lactate and ethanol titers are maximized.

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2017-05

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Modulating the Heat Shock Response in E. coli to Optimize Membrane Protein Expression

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Membrane proteins are essential for cell survival and show potential as pharmacological and therapeutic targets in the field of nanobiotechnology.[1,2] In spite of their promise in these fields, research surrounding membrane proteins lags since their over-expression often leads to cell

Membrane proteins are essential for cell survival and show potential as pharmacological and therapeutic targets in the field of nanobiotechnology.[1,2] In spite of their promise in these fields, research surrounding membrane proteins lags since their over-expression often leads to cell toxicity and death.[3,4] It was hypothesized that membrane protein expression could be regulated and optimized by modifying the heat shock response of Escherichia coli (E. coli). To test this hypothesis, the membrane protein expression pathway was reprogrammed using gene-blocks that were antisense to vital membrane protein DNA and RNA binding-site sequences and included an IbpA-σ32 heat shock promoter. Anti-PBAD and anti-HtdR gene-blocks were designed to have antisense sequences to the DNA of the arabinose PBAD promotor and Haloterrigena turkmenica deltarhodopsin (HtdR) transmembrane protein respectively. These sequences were then employed to be cloned into a pMM102 vector and grown in NEB-5α E. coli cells.

Stable glycerol stocks of the pIbpA-antiPBAD and pIbpA-antiHtdR in BW25113 cells with either a pBLN200 or pHtdR200 plasmid were created. Then after inducing the cells with L-arabinose and 10mM all-trans retinal to allow for membrane protein expression, spectrophotometry was used to test the optical density of the cells at an absorbance of 600nm. Although general trends showed that the pHtdR200-pMM102 and pHtdR200-pIbpA cells had lower optical densities than the pBLN200 cells of all types, the results were determined to be statistically insignificant. Continuing, the pHtdR200 cells of all types showed a purple phenotype when spun down, as expected, while the cells with the pBLN200 plasmid had a colorless phenotype in pellet form. Further work will include cloning a GFP gene-block to test the ability of the anti-PBAD sequence in tuning the transcription of the GFP protein.

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2018-05

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Investigation of the effect of efflux pumps on the toxicity of phenol, 2-phenylethanol, and styrene to E. coli

Description

Depletion of fossil fuel resources has led to the investigation of alternate feedstocks for and methods of chemical synthesis, in particular the use of E. coli biocatalysts to produce fine commodity chemicals from renewable glucose sources. Production of phenol, 2-phenylethanol,

Depletion of fossil fuel resources has led to the investigation of alternate feedstocks for and methods of chemical synthesis, in particular the use of E. coli biocatalysts to produce fine commodity chemicals from renewable glucose sources. Production of phenol, 2-phenylethanol, and styrene was investigated, in particular the limitation in yield and accumulation that results from high product toxicity. This paper examines two methods of product toxicity mitigation: the use of efflux pumps and the separation of pathways which produce less toxic intermediates. A library of 43 efflux pumps from various organisms were screened for their potential to confer resistance to phenol, 2-phenylethanol, and styrene on an E. coli host. A pump sourced from P. putida was found to allow for increased host growth in the presence of styrene as compared to a cell with no efflux pump. The separation of styrene producing pathway was also investigated. Cells capable of performing the first and latter halves of the synthesis were allowed to grow separately and later combined in order to capitalize on the relatively lower toxicity of the intermediate, trans-cinnamate. The styrene production and yield from this separated set of cultures was compared to that resulting from the growth of cells containing the full set of styrene synthesis genes. Results from this experiment were inconclusive.

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2015-05

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Biological Alternative to Create Aromatic Esters Using Engineered Microorganisms as the Biocatalyst

Description

Four enzymes, ATF1, ATF2, ATF, and CAT, were screened to determine which would be most effective at catalyzing the formation of aromatic esters. The CAT enzyme successfully catalyzed the reaction to produce 2-phenethyl acetate using 20x more lysate to improve

Four enzymes, ATF1, ATF2, ATF, and CAT, were screened to determine which would be most effective at catalyzing the formation of aromatic esters. The CAT enzyme successfully catalyzed the reaction to produce 2-phenethyl acetate using 20x more lysate to improve the probability of enzyme presence in the lysate. The CAT enzyme was able to catalyze the reaction producing concentrations that increased by 62% every 12 hours. Enzymatic activity resulted in the production of 2.15 mg/L of 2-phenethyl acetate at 12 hours, 5.62 mg/L of 2-phenethyl acetate at 24 hours, and 15.12 mg/L of 2-phenethyl acetate at 48 hours.

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Date Created
2016-05

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Styrene Oxide Adsorption on Commercial Resins

Description

The goals of the styrene oxide adsorption experiments were to develop reliable isotherms of styrene oxide onto Dowex Optipore L-493 resin and onto mesoporous carbon adsorbents, in addition to determining the ideal conditions for styrene oxide production from E. coli.

The goals of the styrene oxide adsorption experiments were to develop reliable isotherms of styrene oxide onto Dowex Optipore L-493 resin and onto mesoporous carbon adsorbents, in addition to determining the ideal conditions for styrene oxide production from E. coli. Adsorption is an effective means of separation used in industry to separate compounds, often organics from air and water. Styrene oxide adsorption runs without E. coli were conducted at concentrations ranging from 0.15 to 3.00 g/L with resin masses ranging from 0.1 to 0.5 g of Dowex Optipore L-493 and 0.5 to 0.75 g of mesoporous carbon adsorbent. Runs were conducted on a shake plate operating at 80 rpm for 24 hours at ambient temperature. Isotherms were developed from the results and then adsorption experiments with E. coli and L-493 were performed. Runs were conducted at glucose concentrations ranging from 20-40 g/L and resin masses of 0.100 g to 0.800 g. Samples were incubated for 72 hours and styrene oxide production was measured using an HPLC device. Specific loading values reached up to 0.356 g/g for runs without E. coli and nearly 0.003 g of styrene oxide was adsorbed by L-493 during runs with E. coli. Styrene oxide production was most effective at low resin masses and medium glucose concentrations when produced by E. coli.

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Date Created
2014-05

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Development of a Polyethylene terephthalate Hydrolase Expression System in Escherichia coli

Description

The increased shift towards environmentalism has brought notable attention to a universal excessive plastic consumption and subsequent plastic overload in landfills. Among these plastics, polyethylene terephthalate, more commonly known as PET, constitutes a large percentage of the waste that ends

The increased shift towards environmentalism has brought notable attention to a universal excessive plastic consumption and subsequent plastic overload in landfills. Among these plastics, polyethylene terephthalate, more commonly known as PET, constitutes a large percentage of the waste that ends up in landfills. Material and chemical/thermal methods for recycling are both costly, and inefficient, which necessitates a more sustainable and cheaper alternative. The current study aims at fulfilling that role through genetic engineering of Bacillus subtilis with integration of genes from LCC, Ideonella sakaiensis, and Bacillus subtilis. The plasmid construction was done through restriction cloning. A recombinant plasmid for the expression of LCC was constructed, and transformed into Escherichia coli. Future experiments for this study should include redesigning of primers, with possible combination of signal peptides with genes during construct design, and more advanced assays for effective outcomes.

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Date Created
2021-05

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An Environmental and Economic Analysis of The Near Future of Lithium Ion Batteries

Description

Lithium ion batteries are quintessential components of modern life. They are used to power smart devices — phones, tablets, laptops, and are rapidly becoming major elements in the automotive industry. Demand projections for lithium are skyrocketing with production struggling to

Lithium ion batteries are quintessential components of modern life. They are used to power smart devices — phones, tablets, laptops, and are rapidly becoming major elements in the automotive industry. Demand projections for lithium are skyrocketing with production struggling to keep up pace. This drive is due mostly to the rapid adoption of electric vehicles; sales of electric vehicles in 2020 are more than double what they were only a year prior. With such staggering growth it is important to understand how lithium is sourced and what that means for the environment. Will production even be capable of meeting the demand as more industries make use of this valuable element? How will the environmental impact of lithium affect growth? This thesis attempts to answer these questions as the world looks to a decade of rapid growth for lithium ion batteries.

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2021-05