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The road towards de novo pathway engineering: from design to reality

Raaphorst, R. van (2011) The road towards de novo pathway engineering: from design to reality. Bachelor's Thesis, Biology.

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Innovation in biotechnology has led to the possibility of engineering metabolic pathways in microorganisms in order to make useful products efficiently. Alteration of pathways and combination of different pathways enable the production of medicine, natural fuels and more. However, finding a pathway for a desired compound using these strategies is difficult, as the starting point is always an existing pathway made for another product. The ultimate engineering strategy would therefore be de novo pathway engineering: designing a metabolic pathway from scratch in order to produce any desired compound. In order to realize this engineering strategy, several key steps have to be walked through. After rational design of the desired compound, possible metabolic pathways can be generated by a computational prediction system, which searches for theoretically efficient pathways and tests these pathways on few key criteria. Next, a suitable host organism has to be chosen. When that has been decided, a metabolic reconstruction model of that host organism has to be used to analyze the pathway in silico. This should lead to a step-by-step optimized production pathway which can be expressed in the host organism. While it is not possible yet to take these steps of de novo engineering, promising developments are made and challenges are taken up by researchers. The biggest challenge lies within the understanding of the metabolic network as a system and, thereby, the influence of a small part of the network on the whole system. Experiments on pathway engineering, developments of computational pathway prediction systems and refinements of metabolic reconstructions can finally lead to engineering and design of new compounds produced by novel pathways.

Item Type: Thesis (Bachelor's Thesis)
Degree programme: Biology
Thesis type: Bachelor's Thesis
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 07:45
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 07:45

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