Metabolic Engineering (ME) combines the analysis of metabolic pathways using reconstructed metabolic networks (Figure 1) and molecular biology techniques to improve/design microbial strains with desirable properties.
ME can be applied to enhance the production of common goods like beer, wine, cheese, pharmaceuticals, and other biotechnology products.
ME brings new insights into the potential capabilities of the organism of interest utilizing breakthrough analytical techniques to predict the physiological impact of genetic and/or environmental modifications on the organism of interest without necessarily applying recombinant DNA technology.
Our group carry out several projects in this field. From the elucidation of metabolic pathways essential for fungal morphogenesis to the construction of metabolic models of different organisms important in pharmaceutical and dairy industries. This approach enables the prediction and simulation of the phenotypic behaviour of the organisms of interest with accuracy in order to unravel new metabolic targets that can be susceptible to ME. In addition, we have developed methods for global quantification of metabolites and measurement of intracellular fluxes that can be used to support different ME applications.
|Figure 1. The metabolic network of the central carbon metabolism of the yeast Candia albicans highlighting up and down-regulated metabolites (Figure produced by Liam Fearnley and Morgan Han).|