Photosynthetic fuel for heterologous enzymes: the role of electron carrier proteins

Plants, cyanobacteria, and algae generate a surplus of redox power through photosynthesis, which makes them attractive for biotechnological exploitations. While central metabolism consumes most of the energy, pathways introduced through metabolic engineering can also tap into this source of reducing power. Recent work on the metabolic engineering of photosynthetic organisms has shown that the electron carriers such as ferredoxin and flavodoxin can be used to couple heterologous enzymes to photosynthetic reducing power. Because these proteins have a plethora of interaction partners and rely on electrostatically steered complex formation, they form productive electron transfer complexes with non-native enzymes. A handful of examples demonstrate channeling of photosynthetic electrons to drive the activity of heterologous enzymes, and these focus mainly on hydrogenases and cytochrome P450s. However, competition from native pathways and inefficient electron transfer rates present major obstacles, which limit the productivity of heterologous reactions coupled to photosynthesis. We discuss specific approaches to address these bottlenecks and ensure high productivity of such enzymes in a photosynthetic context.

Authors : Silas Busck Mellor, Konstantinos Vavitsas, Agnieszka Zygadlo Nielsen, Poul Erik Jensen

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Birth of a Photosynthetic Chassis: A MoClo Toolkit Enabling Synthetic Biology in the Microalga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii

Microalgae are regarded as promising organisms to develop innovative concepts based on their photosynthetic capacity that offers more sustainable production than heterotrophic hosts. However, to realize their potential as green cell factories, a major challenge is to make microalgae easier to engineer. A promising approach for rapid and predictable genetic manipulation is to use standardized synthetic biology tools and workflows. To this end we have developed a Modular Cloning toolkit for the green microalga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. It is based on Golden Gate cloning with standard syntax, and comprises 119 openly distributed genetic parts, most of which have been functionally validated in several strains. It contains promoters, UTRs, terminators, tags, reporters, antibiotic resistance genes, and introns cloned in various positions to allow maximum modularity. The toolkit enables rapid building of engineered cells for both fundamental research and algal biotechnology. This work will make Chlamydomonas the next chassis for sustainable synthetic biology.

Authors : Pierre Crozet, Francisco J Navarro, Felix Willmund, Payam Mehrshahi, Kamil Bakowski, Kyle J Lauersen, Maria-Esther Pérez-Pérez, Pascaline Auroy, Aleix Gorchs Rovira, Susana Sauret-Gueto, Justus Niemeyer, Benjamin Spaniol, Jasmine Theis, Raphael Trösch, Lisa-Desiree Westrich, Konstantinos Vavitsas, Thomas Baier, Wolfgang Hübner, Felix De Carpentier, Mathieu Cassarini, Antoine Danon, Julien Henri, Christophe H Marchand, Marcello De Mia, Kevin Sarkissian, David C Baulcombe, Gilles Peltier, José-Luis Crespo, Olaf Kruse, Poul-Erik Jensen, Michael Schroda, Alison G Smith, Stéphane D Lemaire

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Extending the biosynthetic repertoires of cyanobacteria and chloroplasts

Chloroplasts in plants and algae and photosynthetic microorganisms such as cyanobacteria are emerging hosts for sustainable production of valuable biochemicals, using only inorganic nutrients, water, CO2 and light as inputs. In the past decade, many bioengineering efforts have focused on metabolic engineering and synthetic biology in the chloroplast or in cyanobacteria for the production of fuels, chemicals and complex, high‐value bioactive molecules. Biosynthesis of all these compounds can be performed in photosynthetic organelles/organisms by heterologous expression of the appropriate pathways, but this requires optimization of carbon flux and reducing power, and a thorough understanding of regulatory pathways. Secretion or storage of the compounds produced can be exploited for the isolation or confinement of the desired compounds.

In this review, we explore the use of chloroplasts and cyanobacteria as biosynthetic compartments and hosts, and we estimate the levels of production to be expected from photosynthetic hosts in light of the fraction of electrons and carbon that can potentially be diverted from photosynthesis. The supply of reducing power, in the form of electrons derived from the photosynthetic light reactions, appears to be non‐limiting, but redirection of the fixed carbon via precursor molecules presents a challenge. We also discuss the available synthetic biology tools and the need to expand the molecular toolbox to facilitate cellular reprogramming for increased production yields in both cyanobacteria and chloroplasts.

Authors : Agnieszka Zygadlo Nielsen, Silas Busck Mellor, Konstantinos Vavitsas, Artur Jacek Wlodarczyk, Thiyagarajan Gnanasekaran, Maria Perestrello Ramos H de Jesus, Brian Christopher King, Kamil Bakowski, Poul Erik Jensen

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Modeling the mechanisms of biological GTP hydrolysis

Enzymes that hydrolyze GTP are currently in the spotlight, due to their molecular switch mechanism that controls many cellular processes. One of the best-known classes of these enzymes are small GTPases such as members of the Ras superfamily, which catalyze the hydrolysis of the γ-phosphate bond in GTP. In addition, the availability of an increasing number of crystal structures of translational GTPases such as EF-Tu and EF-G have made it possible to probe the molecular details of GTP hydrolysis on the ribosome. However, despite a wealth of biochemical, structural and computational data, the way in which GTP hydrolysis is activated and regulated is still a controversial topic and well-designed simulations can play an important role in resolving and rationalizing the experimental data. In this review, we discuss the contributions of computational biology to our understanding of GTP hydrolysis on the ribosome …

Authors : Alexandra TP Carvalho, Klaudia Szeler, Konstantinos Vavitsas, Johan Åqvist, Shina CL Kamerlin

Modeling the mechanisms of biological GTP hydrolysis : Scholar articles