Metabolic Engineering


Metabolic engineering is the practice of optimizing genetic and regulatory processes within cells to increase the cells' production of a certain substance.  a new technique called metabolic engineering emerged. This technique analyzes the metabolic pathway of a microorganism, and determines the constraints and their effects on the production of desired compounds. It then uses genetic engineering to relieve these constraints. Some examples of successful metabolic engineering are the following: (i) Identification of constraints to lysine production in Corynebacterium glutamicum and insertion of new genes to relieve these constraints to improve production[5] (ii) Engineering of a new fatty acid biosynthesis pathway, called reversed beta oxidation pathway, that is more efficient than the native pathway in producing fatty acids and alcohols which can potentially be catalytically converted to chemicals and fuels[6] (iii) Improved production of DAHP an aromatic metabolite produced by E. coli that is an intermediate in the production of aromatic amino acids.[7] It was determined through metabolic flux analysis that the theoretical maximal yield of DAHP per glucose molecule utilized, was 3/7. This is because some of the carbon from glucose is lost as carbon dioxide, instead of being utilized to produce DAHP. These databases contain copious genomic and chemical information including pathways for metabolism and other cellular processes. Using this research, an organism is chosen that will be used to create the desired product or result. Considerations that are taken into account when making this decision are how close the organism's metabolic pathway is to the desired pathway, the maintenance costs associated with the organism, and how easy it is to modify the pathway of the organism. Escherichia coli (E. coli) is widely used in metabolic engineering to synthesize a wide variety of products such as amino acids because it is relatively easy to maintain and modify.[12] If the organism does not contain the complete pathway for the desired product or result, then genes that produce the missing enzymes must be incorporated into the organism.

1  .       History and applications

2  .       Metabolic flux analysis

   2.1    Setting up a metabolic pathway for analysis

   2.2    Analyzing a metabolic pathway

   2.3    Determining the optimal genetic manipulations

   2.4    Experimental measurements

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