Engineered Autonomous Control of Metabolic Pathways

Originally delivered Apr 7, 2021
  • Type:
    Archived Webinar
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  • Duration:
    1 hour
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Microbial systems offer the opportunity to produce a wide variety of chemical compounds in a sustainable fashion. Economical production, however, requires processes that operate with high titer, productivity, and yield. One challenge towards maximizing yields is the need to use substrate for biomass, resulting in a competing pathway that cannot merely be eliminated.

Productivities may also be significantly influenced by the timing of expression of genes in the production pathway. Dynamic metabolic engineering has emerged as a means to address these and other impediments in strain performance. Ideally, the triggers for dynamic control would be autonomous, that is, independent of any external intervention by the operator.

We have developed such autonomous devices based on pathway-independent quorum-sensing circuits and have demonstrated their utility across several distinct metabolic pathways and with varying levels of complexity. In this talk, I will describe our approach for development of these Metabolite Valves and results to date from their implementation.


Kristala Jones Prather

Kristala L.J. Prather is the Arthur D. Little Professor in and Executive Officer of the Department of Chemical Engineering at MIT. She received an S.B. degree from MIT in 1994 and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley (1999), and worked 4 years in BioProcess Research and Development at the Merck Research Labs prior to joining MIT. Her research interests are centered on the design and assembly of recombinant microorganisms for the production of small molecules, with additional efforts in novel bioprocess design approaches. A particular focus is the elucidation of design...Read more

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