Engineering plant metabolism into microbes: from systems biology to synthetic biology
Plant metabolism represents an enormous repository of compounds that are of pharmaceutical and biotechnological importance. Engineering plant metabolism into microbes will provide sustainable solutions to produce pharmaceutical and fuel molecules that could one day replace substantial portions of the current fossil-fuel based economy. Metabolic engineering entails targeted manipulation of biosynthetic pathways to maximize yields of desired products. Recent advances in Systems Biology and the emergence of Synthetic Biology have accelerated our ability to design, construct and optimize cell factories for metabolic engineering applications. Progress in predicting and modeling genome-scale metabolic networks, versatile gene assembly platforms and delicate synthetic pathway optimization strategies has provided us exciting opportunities to exploit the full potential of cell metabolism. In this review, we will discuss how systems and synthetic biology tools can be integrated to create tailor-made cell factories for efficient production of natural products and fuel molecules in microorganisms. Copyright © 2012. Published by Elsevier Ltd.