(140g) Tools to Accelerate Development of Non-Conventional Microbes (Invited Speaker) | AIChE

(140g) Tools to Accelerate Development of Non-Conventional Microbes (Invited Speaker)


Solomon, K. V. - Presenter, Purdue University
Non-model microbes offer many attractive properties for metabolic engineering including efficient plant biomass deconstruction, increased product tolerance, broad simultaneous substrate utilization and much more. However, many remain undeveloped due to a lack of tools to manipulate and engineer these species. In particular, non-model species offer unique challenges such as genome compositional biases, and a lack of well-developed genetic tools that stymie strain development even with the availability of powerful CRISPR-based tools. To address this need, my lab develops novel synthetic biology tools to engineer non-conventional organisms. In my talk, I will introduce our work with environmentally-isolated anaerobic fungi to illustrate specific challenges faced in strain development. I will then describe our work with prokaryotic Argonautes, programmable DNA endonucleases, that have the potential to rival CRISPR-based gene editing tools in species with extreme biases in genome composition. We have developed in vivo screens that allow for the rapid characterization of putative Argonautes and used these tools to validate previously unrecognized structural insights into the function of controversial NgAgo. Finally, I will provide a brief overview of an emerging platform in my lab to rapidly prototype environmentally-sensitive gene expression in a species-agnostic manner. Together, these tools will accelerate the development of emerging non-model species and facilitate their use for biomanufacturing.