A novel ‘smart’ approach to metabolic engineering
Inspired by natural processes, UGA researchers used a genetic toolkit to build a metabolic sensor and control network that works in real time to regulate a cell’s production of a certain biochemical. Specifically, the researchers reprogrammed the regulatory network of E. coli to increase the bacteria’s production of muconic acid, a potential precursor in the production of nylon 66, which is commonly used in textiles and plastics.
The team included Yajun Yan, an associate professor in the College of Engineering and the New Materials Institute, and co-first authors Yaping Yang, a postdoctoral research assistant in Yan’s laboratory, and Yuheng Lin, the chief technology officer of BiotecEra, Inc. Lin and Yan are co-founders of the biotechnology company housed in UGA’s Innovation Gateway Incubator. Their study was published in Nature Communications.