Decipher cytochrome P450 enzymes (CYPs) by digital tools to produce flavonoids and terpenoids

01 September 2023 → 31 August 2027
European funding: framework programme
Research disciplines
  • Engineering and technology
    • Industrial microbiology
Other information
Project description

Microbial production of plant metabolites has economic & environmental benefits over traditional extraction and chemical methods. Despite initial progress & the successful market introduction of some molecules, the microbial production of oxygenated plant metabolites (OPMs) mediated by cytochrome P450 enzymes (CYPs) is still lagging, making them almost inaccessible to society. In contrast, artificial intelligence (AI) & machine learning (ML) tools are evolving rapidly, but their use for engineering biology is still underexplored. deCYPher applies these groundbreaking AI/ML techniques to unlock the OPM molecules to society.

deCYPher develops a standardised AI/ML pipeline to implement AI/ML in each step of the Design-Build-Test-Learn cycle, and across all steps in the biotech value chain. Combined with smart databases & synthetic biology (SynBio) tools, this AI/ML pipeline will generate opportunities for the whole biotech sector. Specifically, applied to OPMs, we (1) bioprospect & select specific CYPs, (2) correctly localise & express CYPs and (3) optimise the microbial cells & bioprocess. deCYPher involves stakeholders (industry, regulators, NGOs) and engages European citizens across several countries. This allows to reflect on the societal ramifications of the convergence of AI & SynBio.

Role of Ghent University
The metabolic engineering research group at the Centre for Synthetic Biology of UGent will take the lead in coordinating the project and contribute to the functional microbial expression and localization of CYP enzymes, development of stress regulation mechanisms to relief the cellular burden associated with CYP expression, and microbial secondary plant metabolite production.
Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Research Executive Agency (REA). Neither the European Union nor the authority can be held responsible for them.