Rewriting the Metabolic Blueprint: Advances in Pathway Diversification in Microorganisms

Front Microbiol. 2018 Feb 12;9:155. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.00155. eCollection 2018.


Living organisms have evolved over millions of years to fine tune their metabolism to create efficient pathways for producing metabolites necessary for their survival. Advancement in the field of synthetic biology has enabled the exploitation of these metabolic pathways for the production of desired compounds by creating microbial cell factories through metabolic engineering, thus providing sustainable routes to obtain value-added chemicals. Following the past success in metabolic engineering, there is increasing interest in diversifying natural metabolic pathways to construct non-natural biosynthesis routes, thereby creating possibilities for producing novel valuable compounds that are non-natural or without elucidated biosynthesis pathways. Thus, the range of chemicals that can be produced by biological systems can be expanded to meet the demands of industries for compounds such as plastic precursors and new antibiotics, most of which can only be obtained through chemical synthesis currently. Herein, we review and discuss novel strategies that have been developed to rewrite natural metabolic blueprints in a bid to broaden the chemical repertoire achievable in microorganisms. This review aims to provide insights on recent approaches taken to open new avenues for achieving biochemical production that are beyond currently available inventions.

Keywords: biochemical production; metabolic engineering; pathway engineering; protein engineering; synthetic biology.

Publication types

  • Review