Matching Items (14)

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Engineering a Co-Culture of Bacteria and Yeast for the Production of Renewable p-Coumaric Acid

Description

p-Coumaric acid is used in the food, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic industries due to its versatile properties. While prevalent in nature, harvesting the compound from natural sources is inefficient, requiring large

p-Coumaric acid is used in the food, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic industries due to its versatile properties. While prevalent in nature, harvesting the compound from natural sources is inefficient, requiring large quantities of producing crops and numerous extraction and purification steps. Thus, the large-scale production of the compound is both difficult and costly. This research aims to produce p-coumarate directly from renewable and sustainable glucose using a co-culture of Yeast and E. Coli. Methods used in this study include: designing optimal media for mixed-species microbial growth, genetically engineering both strains to build the production pathway with maximum yield, and analyzing the presence of p-Coumarate and its pathway intermediates using High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC). To date, the results of this project include successful integration of C4H activity into the yeast strain BY4741 ∆FDC1, yielding a strain that completely consumed trans-cinnamate (initial concentration of 50 mg/L) and produced ~56 mg/L p-coumarate, a resting cell assay of the co-culture that produced 0.23 mM p-coumarate from an initial L-Phenylalanine concentration of 1.14 mM, and toxicity tests that confirmed the toxicity of trans-cinnamate to yeast for concentrations above ~50 mg/L. The hope for this project is to create a feasible method for producing p-Coumarate sustainably.

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Date Created
  • 2016-12

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Engineering High Yield Production of L-Serine in Cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002

Description

Cyanobacteria have the potential to efficiently produce L-serine, an industrially important amino acid, directly from CO2 and sunlight, which is a more sustainable and inexpensive source of energy as compared

Cyanobacteria have the potential to efficiently produce L-serine, an industrially important amino acid, directly from CO2 and sunlight, which is a more sustainable and inexpensive source of energy as compared to current methods. The research aims to engineer a strain of Cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002 that increases L-serine production by mutating regulatory mechanisms that natively inhibit its production and encoding an exporter. While an excess of L-serine was not found in the supernatant of the cell cultures, with further fine tuning of the metabolic pathway and culture conditions, high titers of L-serine can be found. With the base strain engineered, the work can be extended and optimized by deleting degradation pathways, tuning gene expression levels, optimizing growth conditions, and investigating the effects of nitrogen supplementation for the strain.

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  • 2020-05

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Identification of aromatic-inducible promoters and heterologous biosensors as tuning elements for styrene production in E. coli

Description

One of the primary bottlenecks to chemical production in biological organisms is the toxicity of the chemical. Overexpression of efflux pumps has been shown to increase tolerance to aromatic compounds

One of the primary bottlenecks to chemical production in biological organisms is the toxicity of the chemical. Overexpression of efflux pumps has been shown to increase tolerance to aromatic compounds such as styrene and styrene oxide. Tight control of pump expression is necessary to maximize titers and prevent excessive strain on the cells. This study aimed to identify aromatic-sensitive native promoters and heterologous biosensors for construction of closed-loop control of efflux pump expression in E. coli. Using a promoter library constructed by Zaslaver et al., activation was measured through GFP output. Promoters were evaluated for their sensitivity to the addition of one of four aromatic compounds, their "leaking" of signal, and their induction threshold. Out of 43 targeted promoters, 4 promoters (cmr, mdtG, yahN, yajR) for styrene oxide, 2 promoters (mdtG, yahN) for styrene, 0 promoters for 2-phenylethanol, and 1 promoter for phenol (pheP) were identified as ideal control elements in aromatic bioproduction. In addition, a series of three biosensors (NahR, XylS, DmpR) known to be inducible by other aromatics were screened against styrene oxide, 2-phenylethanol, and phenol. The targeted application of these biosensors is aromatic-induced activation of linked efflux pumps. All three biosensors responded strongly in the presence of styrene oxide and 2-phenylethanol, with minor activation in the presence of phenol. Bioproduction of aromatics continues to gain traction in the biotechnology industry, and the continued discovery of aromatic-inducible elements will be essential to effective pathway control.

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Date Created
  • 2018-05

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Improving Biochemical Production in Escherichia coli through Nutrient Limitation

Description

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

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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Date Created
  • 2018-05

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Plasmid construction for the overexpression of waste biomass-degrading enzymes

Description

Lignin is a naturally abundant source of aromatic carbon but is largely underutilized in industry because it is difficult to decompose. Under the current study we engineered Corynebacterium glutamicum for

Lignin is a naturally abundant source of aromatic carbon but is largely underutilized in industry because it is difficult to decompose. Under the current study we engineered Corynebacterium glutamicum for the depolymerization of lignin with the goal of using it as raw feed for the sustainable production of valuable chemicals. C. glutamicum is a standout candidate for the depolymerization and assimilation of lignin because of its performance as an industrial producer of amino acids, resistance to aromatic compounds in lignin, and low extracellular protease activity. Three different foreign and native ligninolytic enzymes were tested in combination with three signal peptides to assess lignin degradation efficacy. At this stage, six of the nine plasmid constructs have been constructed.

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Date Created
  • 2021-05

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Construction of Recombinant Plasmids of Corynebacterium glutamicum for Flavonoid Production

Description

Due to the wide range of health properties flavonoids possess, flavonoids are sold in health supplements to the general public. Flavonoids are also utilized in research but have a high

Due to the wide range of health properties flavonoids possess, flavonoids are sold in health supplements to the general public. Flavonoids are also utilized in research but have a high cost due to current production techniques. This project focuses on engineering two DNA recombinants to develop new strains of Corynebacterium glutamicum that can produce flavonoids pinocembrin and naringenin. After culturing Escherichia coli colonies containing genes of interest, the genes were collected and purified by PCR reactions. The recombinant plasmid was assembled using CPEC and successfully transformed into Escherichia coli, with plans to transform Corynebacterium glutamicum to experiment and determine which recombinant can produce more pinocembrin and naringenin. Design work for other DNA recombinants, which were not the focus of this project, was also completed.

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Date Created
  • 2019-05

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Enhancing Escherichia coli Fermentative Performance with Lactobacillus plantarum WCFS1 Genes

Description

Renewable bioproduction through fermentation of microbial species such as E. coli shows much promise in comparison to conventional fossil fuel based chemical production. Although Escherichia coli is a workhorse for

Renewable bioproduction through fermentation of microbial species such as E. coli shows much promise in comparison to conventional fossil fuel based chemical production. Although Escherichia coli is a workhorse for bioproduction, there are inherent limitations associated with the use of this organism which negatively affect bioproduction. One example is E. coli fermentative growth being less robust compared to some microbes such as Lactobacilli under anaerobic and microaerobic fermentation conditions. Identification and characterization of its fermentative growth constraints will help in making E. coli a better fermentation host. In this thesis, I demonstrate that Lactobacillus plantarum WCFS1 has desirable fermentative capabilities that may be transferrable to E. coli through genetic engineering to alleviate growth restraints. This has led to the hypothesis that these L. plantarum DNA sequences are transferrable through a genomic library. A background of comparative genomics and complementary literature review has demonstrated that E. coli growth may be hindered by stress from many toxin-antitoxin systems. L. plantarum WCFS1 optimizes amino acid catabolism over glycolysis to generate high ATP levels from reducing agents and proton motive force, and Lactobacilli are resistant to acidic environments and encodes a wide variety of acid transporters that could help E. coli fermentative growth. Since a great variety of L. plantarum genes may contribute to its fermentative capabilities, a gDNA library containing L. plantarum WCFS1 genes has been successfully constructed for testing in E. coli bioproducers to search for specific genes that may enhance E. coli fermentative performance and elucidate the molecular basis of Lactobacillus fermentative success.

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Date Created
  • 2019-05

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Assessment of Metabolic Engineering in Bioprocess Engineering and Industrial Applications

Description

The field of bioprocess engineering has become an increasingly popular route to produce chemicals and fuels in a sustainable fashion. Bioprocessing is an interdisciplinary field that joins chemical engineering, metabolic

The field of bioprocess engineering has become an increasingly popular route to produce chemicals and fuels in a sustainable fashion. Bioprocessing is an interdisciplinary field that joins chemical engineering, metabolic engineering, and synthetic biology to tackle problems that will arise from the ongoing use of products derived from non-renewable resources. This study will overlook two effective tools that are widely used in the bioprocessing field. The first tool that was studied was strain optimization for biochemical production. This involves genetic manipulation of microbial hosts to create strains that are more efficient at producing the desired products. The second tool that was studied was adaptive laboratory evolution which is used to enhance overall cellular fitness. Enhancing the overall fitness and efficiency of these microbial production factories, allows for innovation and growth in the biochemical industry. Creating sustainable and renewable solutions for both specialty and commodity chemicals.
Strain optimization was specifically studied by enhancing inorganic carbon uptake in synechococcus sp. 7002. It is desired to have both high flux and high affinity transport for the rapid and efficient uptake of HCO3- for enhanced cell growth. The results found that the regulatory gene for carbon transporters in synechococcus genome was successfully deleted. Increasing the toxicity limits of 2-Phenylethanol was done by using adaptive laboratory evolution (ALE). ALE is a widely used practice in biotechnology studies to gain insights on mechanisms of molecular evolution and to better define the functionality of microbial cell factories. It was found that after growing E. coli BW25113 under selective conditions the genome evolved for a higher fitness medium with an increased concentration of 2-Phenylethanol. Overall, two key tools used in bioprocess engineering were successful studied to gain a better insight on the future of biochemical production industry.

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Date Created
  • 2019-05

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Investigating strategies to enhance microbial production of and tolerance towards aromatic biochemicals

Description

Aromatic compounds have traditionally been generated via petroleum feedstocks and have wide ranging applications in a variety of fields such as cosmetics, food, plastics, and pharmaceuticals. Substantial improvements have

Aromatic compounds have traditionally been generated via petroleum feedstocks and have wide ranging applications in a variety of fields such as cosmetics, food, plastics, and pharmaceuticals. Substantial improvements have been made to sustainably produce many aromatic chemicals from renewable sources utilizing microbes as bio-factories. By assembling and optimizing native and non-native pathways to produce natural and non-natural bioproducts, the diversity of biochemical aromatics which can be produced is constantly being improved upon. One such compound, 2-Phenylethanol (2PE), is a key molecule used in the fragrance and food industries, as well as a potential biofuel. Here, a novel, non-natural pathway was engineered in Escherichia coli and subsequently evaluated. Following strain and bioprocess optimization, accumulation of inhibitory acetate byproduct was reduced and 2PE titers approached 2 g/L – a ~2-fold increase over previously implemented pathways in E. coli. Furthermore, a recently developed mechanism to

allow E. coli to consume xylose and glucose, two ubiquitous and industrially relevant microbial feedstocks, simultaneously was implemented and systematically evaluated for its effects on L-phenylalanine (Phe; a precursor to many microbially-derived aromatics such as 2PE) production. Ultimately, by incorporating this mutation into a Phe overproducing strain of E. coli, improvements in overall Phe titers, yields and sugar consumption in glucose-xylose mixed feeds could be obtained. While upstream efforts to improve precursor availability are necessary to ultimately reach economically-viable production, the effect of end-product toxicity on production metrics for many aromatics is severe. By utilizing a transcriptional profiling technique (i.e., RNA sequencing), key insights into the mechanisms behind styrene-induced toxicity in E. coli and the cellular response systems that are activated to maintain cell viability were obtained. By investigating variances in the transcriptional response between styrene-producing cells and cells where styrene was added exogenously, better understanding on how mechanisms such as the phage shock, heat-shock and membrane-altering responses react in different scenarios. Ultimately, these efforts to diversify the collection of microbially-produced aromatics, improve intracellular precursor pools and further the understanding of cellular response to toxic aromatic compounds, give insight into methods for improved future metabolic engineering endeavors.

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Date Created
  • 2019

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Approaches to engineering Synechocystis for biofuel production with emphasis on electron transport modifications

Description

The basic scheme for photosynthesis suggests the two photosystems existing in parity with one another. However, cyanobacteria typically maintain significantly more photosystem I (PSI) than photosystem II (PSII) complexes. I

The basic scheme for photosynthesis suggests the two photosystems existing in parity with one another. However, cyanobacteria typically maintain significantly more photosystem I (PSI) than photosystem II (PSII) complexes. I set out to evaluate this disparity through development and analysis of multiple mutants of the genetically tractable cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 that exhibit a range of expression levels of the main proteins present in PSI (Chapter 2). One hypothesis was that the higher abundance of PSI in this organism is used to enable more cyclic electron flow (CEF) around PSI to contribute to greater ATP synthesis. Results of this study show that indeed CEF is enhanced by the high amount of PSI present in WT. On the other hand, mutants with less PSI and less cyclic electron flow appeared able to maintain healthy levels of ATP synthesis through other compensatory mechanisms. Reduction in PSI abundance is naturally associated with reduced chlorophyll content, and mutants with less PSI showed greater primary productivity as light intensity increased due to increased light penetration in the cultures. Another question addressed in this research project involved the effect of deletion of flavoprotein 3 (an electron sink for PSI-generated electrons) from mutant strains that produce and secrete a fatty acid (Chapter 3). Removing Flv3 increased fatty acid production, most likely due to increased abundance of reducing equivalents that are key to fatty acid biosynthesis. Additional components of my dissertation research included examination of alkane biosynthesis in Synechocystis (Chapter 4), and effects of attempting to overexpress fibrillin genes for enhancement of stored compounds (Chapter 5). Synechocystis is an excellent platform for metabolic engineering studies with its photosynthetic capability and ease of genetic alteration, and the presented research sheds light on multiple aspects of its fundamental biology.

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Date Created
  • 2017