Expanding the portfolio of bacterial hosts for industrial biotechnology through the development of a cross-bacterial, orthogonal and tunable gene expression system.

01 November 2020 → 31 October 2022
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Synthetic biology
  • Engineering and technology
    • Industrial microbiology
synthetic biology. industrial biotechnology Cross-bacterial gene expression system
Project description

Development of commercially viable microbial cell factories is currently limited by high costs and long time-to-market relative to other production routes. One cause is an over-reliance on non-optimal model organisms such as E. coli which often results in longer development times and high associated costs. In this context, the lack of extensive and standardised genetic parts and tools to control gene expression for predictable engineering in alternative bacterial hosts is a major bottleneck. The aim of this project is the development a cross bacterial and tunable gene expression system that is functional and orthogonal in a range of bacterial hosts, allowing the large diversity in the bacterial domain to be utilised without requirement for costly and time-consuming development for tools in each individual host. In silico modelling and subsequent protein engineering will be utilised for development of new-to-nature transcription initiation factors which will allow predictable and tunable control of gene expression. The functionality and orthogonality of the system will be tested in 4 different bacterial hosts, thereby demonstrating the ability to easily move between species. This advancement will improve optimisation of microbial cell factories and therefore have advantages for multiple applications including production of sustainable energy, materials and chemicals.