Recent progress in therapeutic natural product biosynthesis using Escherichia coli

Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2016 Dec:42:7-12. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2016.02.010. Epub 2016 Mar 1.


E. coli has become a common host for the heterologous biosynthesis of natural products that demonstrate therapeutic value but suffer from access challenges posed by native production hosts. This review will highlight recent examples of heterologous products produced using E. coli. An emphasis will be placed on tools at the cellular and process levels to enable, improve, and alter production efforts. At the cellular scale, summaries of the process to enable heterologous biosynthesis will be supplemented with strategies (synthetic biology and metabolic engineering) to improve production levels. Process engineering strategies such as precursor-directed biosynthesis will also be highlighted in analog formation cases. In summary, the article will provide a recent overview of heterologous production efforts using E. coli and the relationship of the products produced to therapeutic applications.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biological Products / metabolism*
  • Biological Products / therapeutic use*
  • Biosynthetic Pathways*
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism*
  • Metabolic Engineering / methods*
  • Metabolic Engineering / trends*
  • Synthetic Biology


  • Biological Products