75 research outputs found

    Advances and Computational Tools towards Predictable Design in Biological Engineering

    Get PDF
    The design process of complex systems in all the fields of engineering requires a set of quantitatively characterized components and a method to predict the output of systems composed by such elements. This strategy relies on the modularity of the used components or the prediction of their context-dependent behaviour, when parts functioning depends on the specific context. Mathematical models usually support the whole process by guiding the selection of parts and by predicting the output of interconnected systems. Such bottom-up design process cannot be trivially adopted for biological systems engineering, since parts function is hard to predict when components are reused in different contexts. This issue and the intrinsic complexity of living systems limit the capability of synthetic biologists to predict the quantitative behaviour of biological systems. The high potential of synthetic biology strongly depends on the capability of mastering this issue. This review discusses the predictability issues of basic biological parts (promoters, ribosome binding sites, coding sequences, transcriptional terminators, and plasmids) when used to engineer simple and complex gene expression systems in Escherichia coli. A comparison between bottom-up and trial-and-error approaches is performed for all the discussed elements and mathematical models supporting the prediction of parts behaviour are illustrated

    Characterization of a synthetic bacterial self-destruction device for programmed cell death and for recombinant proteins release

    Get PDF
    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>Bacterial cell lysis is a widely studied mechanism that can be achieved through the intracellular expression of phage native lytic proteins. This mechanism can be exploited for programmed cell death and for gentle cell disruption to release recombinant proteins when <it>in vivo </it>secretion is not feasible. Several genetic parts for cell lysis have been developed and their quantitative characterization is an essential step to enable the engineering of synthetic lytic systems with predictable behavior.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>Here, a BioBrickâ„¢ lysis device present in the Registry of Standard Biological Parts has been quantitatively characterized. Its activity has been measured in <it>E. coli </it>by assembling the device under the control of a well characterized N-3-oxohexanoyl-L-homoserine lactone (HSL) -inducible promoter and the transfer function, lysis dynamics, protein release capability and genotypic and phenotypic stability of the device have been evaluated. Finally, its modularity was tested by assembling the device to a different inducible promoter, which can be triggered by heat induction.</p> <p>Conclusions</p> <p>The studied device is suitable for recombinant protein release as 96% of the total amount of the intracellular proteins was successfully released into the medium. Furthermore, it has been shown that the device can be assembled to different input devices to trigger cell lysis in response to a user-defined signal. For this reason, this lysis device can be a useful tool for the rational design and construction of complex synthetic biological systems composed by biological parts with known and well characterized function. Conversely, the onset of mutants makes this device unsuitable for the programmed cell death of a bacterial population.</p

    A standard vector for the chromosomal integration and characterization of BioBrickâ„¢ parts in Escherichia coli

    Get PDF
    BACKGROUND: The chromosomal integration of biological parts in the host genome enables the engineering of plasmid-free stable strains with single-copy insertions of the desired gene networks. Although different integrative vectors were proposed, no standard pre-assembled genetic tool is available to carry out this task. Synthetic biology concepts can contribute to the development of standardized and user friendly solutions to easily produce engineered strains and to rapidly characterize the desired genetic parts in single-copy context. RESULTS: In this work we report the design of a novel integrative vector that allows the genomic integration of biological parts compatible with the RFC10, RFC23 and RFC12 BioBrickâ„¢ standards in Escherichia coli. It can also be specialized by using BioBrickâ„¢ parts to target the desired integration site in the host genome. The usefulness of this vector has been demonstrated by integrating a set of BioBrickâ„¢ devices in two different loci of the E. coli chromosome and by characterizing their activity in single-copy. Construct stability has also been evaluated and compared with plasmid-borne solutions. CONCLUSIONS: Physical modularity of biological parts has been successfully applied to construct a ready-to-engineer BioBrickâ„¢ vector, suitable for a stable chromosomal insertion of standard parts via the desired recombination method, i.e. the bacteriophage integration mechanism or homologous recombination. In contrast with previously proposed solutions, it is a pre-assembled vector containing properly-placed restriction sites for the direct transfer of various formats of BioBrickâ„¢ parts. This vector can facilitate the characterization of parts avoiding copy number artefacts and the construction of antibiotic resistance-free engineered microbes, suitable for industrial use

    Optimization of γ-PGA biosynthesis supported by synthetic biology and metabolic engineering strategies

    Get PDF
    Poly-γ-glutamate (γ-PGA) is a natural polymer composed by glutamic acid residues, synthesized by the pgs operon of Bacillus subtilis. γ-PGA has a wide range of applications as food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical additive. However, to increase its industrial attractiveness, it is necessary to cut production costs utilizing cost-competitive feedstocks for fermentation. A low-cost by-product that can be used as feedstock is raw glycerol, that accounts for 10% (w/w) of the total biodiesel production. To achieve cost-competitive γ-PGA production from glycerol a multifaceted approach has been set up that includes: 1) improvement of pgs expression; 2) accumulation of γ-PGA precursors by metabolic engineering; 3) enhancement of glycerol metabolism. 1) The strength of the pgs operon regulatory elements has been analysed both by a synthetic biology approach, exploiting the well-characterized expression operating unit (EOU) inserted in amyE, and by a classical in-locus transcriptional fusion. Results from the two settings will be compared. These data will be then used to finely tune pgs expression and optimize γ-PGA yield. To this end, an inducible pgs operon has been constructed. 2) A genome-scale metabolic model was used to identify suitable targets for enhancing central carbon pathway flux toward γ-PGA synthesis. The first two B. subtilis strains, engineered following this analysis, showed enhanced polymer production. Other target genes are currently under investigation. 3) B. subtilis tolerance to raw glycerol obtained from a biodiesel plant (from both vegetable and animal origin) was verified. Further investigations are underway to improve glycerol uptake and consumption

    Integration of enzymatic data in <i>Bacillus subtilis</i> genome-scale metabolic model improves phenotype predictions and enables in silico design of poly-γ-glutamic acid production strains

    Get PDF
    Abstract Background Genome-scale metabolic models (GEMs) allow predicting metabolic phenotypes from limited data on uptake and secretion fluxes by defining the space of all the feasible solutions and excluding physio-chemically and biologically unfeasible behaviors. The integration of additional biological information in genome-scale models, e.g., transcriptomic or proteomic profiles, has the potential to improve phenotype prediction accuracy. This is particularly important for metabolic engineering applications where more accurate model predictions can translate to more reliable model-based strain design. Results Here we present a GEM with Enzymatic Constraints using Kinetic and Omics data (GECKO) model of Bacillus subtilis, which uses publicly available proteomic data and enzyme kinetic parameters for central carbon (CC) metabolic reactions to constrain the flux solution space. This model allows more accurate prediction of the flux distribution and growth rate of wild-type and single-gene/operon deletion strains compared to a standard genome-scale metabolic model. The flux prediction error decreased by 43% and 36% for wild-type and mutants respectively. The model additionally increased the number of correctly predicted essential genes in CC pathways by 2.5-fold and significantly decreased flux variability in more than 80% of the reactions with variable flux. Finally, the model was used to find new gene deletion targets to optimize the flux toward the biosynthesis of poly-γ-glutamic acid (γ-PGA) polymer in engineered B. subtilis. We implemented the single-reaction deletion targets identified by the model experimentally and showed that the new strains have a twofold higher γ-PGA concentration and production rate compared to the ancestral strain. Conclusions This work confirms that integration of enzyme constraints is a powerful tool to improve existing genome-scale models, and demonstrates the successful use of enzyme-constrained models in B. subtilis metabolic engineering. We expect that the new model can be used to guide future metabolic engineering efforts in the important industrial production host B. subtilis

    Advances and Computational Tools towards Predictable Design in Biological Engineering

    Get PDF
    The design process of complex systems in all the fields of engineering requires a set of quantitatively characterized components and a method to predict the output of systems composed by such elements. This strategy relies on the modularity of the used components or the prediction of their context-dependent behaviour, when parts functioning depends on the specific context. Mathematical models usually support the whole process by guiding the selection of parts and by predicting the output of interconnected systems. Such bottom-up design process cannot be trivially adopted for biological systems engineering, since parts function is hard to predict when components are reused in different contexts. This issue and the intrinsic complexity of living systems limit the capability of synthetic biologists to predict the quantitative behaviour of biological systems. The high potential of synthetic biology strongly depends on the capability of mastering this issue. This review discusses the predictability issues of basic biological parts (promoters, ribosome binding sites, coding sequences, transcriptional terminators, and plasmids) when used to engineer simple and complex gene expression systems in Escherichia coli. A comparison between bottom-up and trial-and-error approaches is performed for all the discussed elements and mathematical models supporting the prediction of parts behaviour are illustrated
    • …
    corecore