Claudia Vickers, CSIRO

12 May 2021, 12.00 PM - 12 May 2021, 1.00 PM

Zoom webinar link: Slido meeting number: #642478

Synthetic biology tools for metabolic engineering in microbes: Isoprenoids as a model system

Professor Claudia Vickers
The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
Academic Host(s): Thomas Gorochowski and Dek Woolfson
Slido meeting number: #642478
We use synthetic biology to (a) understand metabolic regulation of the isoprenoid group of natural products, and (b) engineer production of industrially useful biochemicals. The overall aim of the program is to develop a sufficiently complete understanding of biology such that predictable, reproducible engineering can be achieved. Isoprenoids (terpenes/terpenoids) represent an ideal model system to investigate this challenge. Isoprenoids are an extremely large and diverse group of natural compounds with myriad biological functions, including roles in photosynthesis, respiration, signalling, membrane biosynthesis, and as pigments, hormones, virulence factors, vitamins, etc. They also have many industrial uses, ranging from specialized applications (e.g. anti-cancer and anti-malarial pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals) through to bulk chemicals (e.g., food colours, fragrances, rubbers, agricultural chemicals, and fuel replacements). However, extracting these compounds from natural sources or chemically synthesizing them is often unfeasible, making them ideal targets for metabolic engineering. We have developed new tools and techniques that help us understand metabolic regulation of pathway flux and achieve controlled cellular behaviour. These include tools for inserting large amounts of DNA onto chromosomes, multi-gene yeast expression vectors, modules to control cell density-dependent gene expression, plant transformation vectors and reporter systems, novel approaches to engineer pathway flux, and subcellular nano-compartments for biocatalysis. This presentation will detail the available synthetic biology tools with examples of their application in isoprenoid production. I will also introduce our high throughput bioengineering facility – the CSIRO BioFoundry.
*Also part of the wider University of Bristol Festival of International Research and Partnerships, 19 April-19 May 2021* 

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