Development of microbial cell factories for the production of chitoheptaose and -octaose using metabolic and protein engineering: Promising molecules with an underexplored potential for plant, animal and human health

01 January 2017 → 31 December 2020
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
No data available
Industrial biotechnology chito-oligosaccharides microbial cell factories
Project description

At an amazing pace, synthetic biology, bio-informatics and systems biology are developing from
metabolic engineering tools into major drivers of industrial biotechnology and thus, crucial factors
in the transition to a knowledge-based bio-economy. Jointly, they allow the rapid development of
bio-processes for products which are new-to-nature and which offer novel opportunities for
solving problems not resolvable hitherto. Such a class of molecules for which industry is searching
for alternative production technologies are chito-oligosaccharides (COS), as the state-of-the-art
processes are seriously flawed. Here, we will tackle the main drawbacks of our previously
developed COS biotechnological production platform, i.e., the limited set of COS produced in vivo
and the sub-optimal process performance. The product portfolio will be expanded specifically
towards a higher degree of polymerization (DP7 or DP8) by employing engineered NodC enzymes.
In addition, the process performance will be optimized, by developing a novel tool based on colocalization
to i) align all steps in complex (artificial) pathways to each other and to the host’s
metabolism, and ii) efficiently channel pathway intermediates between the consecutive enzymatic
reactions of the pathway. These technological advances will allow the production of pure COS with
high DP, which will subsequently be tested for various applications in the domains of plant, animal
and human health