A seamless and iterative DNA assembly method named PS-Brick and its assisted metabolic engineering for threonine and 1-propanol production.
ABSTRACT: DNA assembly is an essential technique enabling metabolic engineering and synthetic biology. Combining novel DNA assembly technologies with rational metabolic engineering can facilitate the construction of microbial cell factories. Amino acids and derived biochemicals are important products in industrial biotechnology with wide application and huge markets. DNA assembly scenarios encountered in metabolic engineering for the construction of amino acid and related compound producers, such as design-build-test-learn cycles, construction of precise genetic circuits and repetitive DNA molecules, usually require for iterative, scarless and repetitive sequence assembly methods, respectively. Restriction endonuclease (RE)-assisted strategies constitute one of the major categories of DNA assembly. Here, we developed a Type IIP and IIS RE-assisted method named PS-Brick that comprehensively takes advantage of the properties of PCR fragments and REs for iterative, seamless and repetitive sequence assembly. One round of PS-Brick reaction using purified plasmids and PCR fragments was accomplished within several hours, and transformation of the resultant reaction product from this PS-Brick assembly reaction exhibited high efficiency (104-105 CFUs/µg DNA) and high accuracy (~ 90%). An application of metabolic engineering to threonine production, including the release of feedback regulation, elimination of metabolic bottlenecks, intensification of threonine export and inactivation of threonine catabolism, was stepwise resolved in E. coli by rounds of "design-build-test-learn" cycles through the iterative PS-Brick paradigm, and 45.71 g/L threonine was obtained through fed-batch fermentation. In addition to the value of the iterative character of PS-Brick for sequential strain engineering, seamless cloning enabled precise in-frame fusion for codon saturation mutagenesis and bicistronic design, and the repetitive sequence cloning ability of PS-Brick enabled construction of tandem CRISPR sgRNA arrays for genome editing. Moreover, the heterologous pathway deriving 1-propanol pathway from threonine, composed of Lactococcus lactis kivD and Saccharomyces cerevisiae ADH2, was assembled by one cycle of PS-Brick, resulting in 1.35 g/L 1-propanol in fed-batch fermentation. To the best of our knowledge, the PS-Brick framework is the first RE-assisted DNA assembly method using the strengths of both Type IIP and IIS REs. In this study, PS-Brick was demonstrated to be an efficient DNA assembly method for pathway construction and genome editing and was successfully applied in design-build-test-learn (DBTL) cycles of metabolic engineering for the production of threonine and threonine-derived 1-propanol. The PS-Brick presents a valuable addition to the current toolbox of synthetic biology and metabolic engineering.
Project description:BACKGROUND:To produce 1-propanol as a potential biofuel, metabolic engineering of microorganisms, such as E. coli, has been studied. However, 1-propanol production using metabolically engineered Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which has an amazing ability to produce ethanol and is thus alcohol-tolerant, has infrequently been reported. Therefore, in this study, we aimed to engineer S. cerevisiae strains capable of producing 1-propanol at high levels. RESULTS:We found that the activity of endogenous 2-keto acid decarboxylase and alcohol/aldehyde dehydrogenase is sufficient to convert 2-ketobutyrate (2 KB) to 500 mg/L 1-propanol in yeast. Production of 1-propanol could be increased by: (i) the construction of an artificial 2 KB biosynthetic pathway from pyruvate via citramalate (cimA); (ii) overexpression of threonine dehydratase (tdcB); (iii) enhancement of threonine biosynthesis from aspartate (thrA, thrB and thrC); and (iv) deletion of the GLY1 gene that regulates a competing pathway converting threonine to glycine. With high-density anaerobic fermentation of the engineered S. cerevisiae strain YG5C4231, we succeeded in producing 180 mg/L 1-propanol from glucose. CONCLUSION:These results indicate that the engineering of a citramalate-mediated pathway as a production method for 1-propanol in S. cerevisiae is effective. Although optimization of the carbon flux in S. cerevisiae is necessary to harness this pathway, it is a promising candidate for the large-scale production of 1-propanol.
Project description:A promising application of DNA self-assembly is the fabrication of chromophore-based excitonic devices. DNA brick assembly is a compelling method for creating programmable nanobreadboards on which chromophores may be rapidly and easily repositioned to prototype new excitonic devices, optimize device operation, and induce reversible switching. Using DNA nanobreadboards, we have demonstrated each of these functions through the construction and operation of two different excitonic AND logic gates. The modularity and high chromophore density achievable via this brick-based approach provide a viable path toward developing information processing and storage systems.
Project description:The development of synthetic biology requires rapid batch construction of large gene networks from combinations of smaller units. Despite the availability of computational predictions for well-characterized enzymes, the optimization of most synthetic biology projects requires combinational constructions and tests. A new building-brick-style parallel DNA assembly framework for simple and flexible batch construction is presented here. It is based on robust recombination steps and allows a variety of DNA assembly techniques to be organized for complex constructions (with or without scars). The assembly of five DNA fragments into a host genome was performed as an experimental demonstration.
Project description:DNA assembly allows individual DNA constructs or libraries to be assembled quickly and reliably. Most methods are either: (i) Modular, easily scalable and suitable for combinatorial assembly, but leave undesirable 'scar' sequences; or (ii) bespoke (non-modular), scarless but less suitable for construction of combinatorial libraries. Both have limitations for metabolic engineering. To overcome this trade-off we devised Start-Stop Assembly, a multi-part, modular DNA assembly method which is both functionally scarless and suitable for combinatorial assembly. Crucially, 3 bp overhangs corresponding to start and stop codons are used to assemble coding sequences into expression units, avoiding scars at sensitive coding sequence boundaries. Building on this concept, a complete DNA assembly framework was designed and implemented, allowing assembly of up to 15 genes from up to 60 parts (or mixtures); monocistronic, operon-based or hybrid configurations; and a new streamlined assembly hierarchy minimizing the number of vectors. Only one destination vector is required per organism, reflecting our optimization of the system for metabolic engineering in diverse organisms. Metabolic engineering using Start-Stop Assembly was demonstrated by combinatorial assembly of carotenoid pathways in Escherichia coli resulting in a wide range of carotenoid production and colony size phenotypes indicating the intended exploration of design space.
Project description:The engineering of biological components has been facilitated by de novo synthesis of gene-length DNA. Biological engineering at the level of pathways and genomes, however, requires a scalable and cost-effective assembly of DNA molecules that are longer than approximately 10 kb, and this remains a challenge. Here we present the development of pairwise selection assembly (PSA), a process that involves hierarchical construction of long-length DNA through the use of a standard set of components and operations. In PSA, activation tags at the termini of assembly sub-fragments are reused throughout the assembly process to activate vector-encoded selectable markers. Marker activation enables stringent selection for a correctly assembled product in vivo, often obviating the need for clonal isolation. Importantly, construction via PSA is sequence-independent, and does not require primary sequence modification (e.g. the addition or removal of restriction sites). The utility of PSA is demonstrated in the construction of a completely synthetic 91-kb chromosome arm from Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
Project description:Health care authorities are calling for new antibacterial therapies to cope with the global emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Bacteriophage-encoded lysins are a unique class of antibacterials with promising (pre)clinical progress. Custom engineering of lysins allows for the creation of variants against potentially any bacterial pathogen. We here present a high-throughput hit-to-lead development platform for engineered lysins. The platform is driven by VersaTile, a new DNA assembly method for the rapid construction of combinatorial libraries of engineered lysins. We constructed approximately 10,000 lysin variants. Using an iterative screening procedure, we identified a lead variant with high antibacterial activity against Acinetobacter baumannii in human serum and an ex vivo pig burn wound model. This generic platform could offer new opportunities to populate the preclinical pipeline with engineered lysins for diverse (therapeutic) applications.
Project description:Preservation of cultural heritage is of paramount importance worldwide. Microbial colonization of construction materials, such as wood, brick, mortar, and stone in historic buildings can lead to severe deterioration. The aim of the present study was to give modern insight into the phylogenetic diversity and activated metabolic pathways of microbial communities colonized historic objects located in the former Auschwitz II-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp in O?wiecim, Poland. For this purpose we combined molecular, microscopic and chemical methods. Selected specimens were examined using Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscopy (FESEM), metabolomic analysis and high-throughput Illumina sequencing. FESEM imaging revealed the presence of complex microbial communities comprising diatoms, fungi and bacteria, mainly cyanobacteria and actinobacteria, on sample surfaces. Microbial diversity of brick specimens appeared higher than that of the wood and was dominated by algae and cyanobacteria, while wood was mainly colonized by fungi. DNA sequences documented the presence of 15 bacterial phyla representing 99 genera including Halomonas, Halorhodospira, Salinisphaera, Salinibacterium, Rubrobacter, Streptomyces, Arthrobacter and nine fungal classes represented by 113 genera including Cladosporium, Acremonium, Alternaria, Engyodontium, Penicillium, Rhizopus, and Aureobasidium. Most of the identified sequences were characteristic of organisms implicated in deterioration of wood and brick. Metabolomic data indicated the activation of numerous metabolic pathways, including those regulating the production of primary and secondary metabolites, for example, metabolites associated with the production of antibiotics, organic acids and deterioration of organic compounds. The study demonstrated that a combination of electron microscopy imaging with metabolomic and genomic techniques allows to link the phylogenetic information and metabolic profiles of microbial communities and to shed new light on biodeterioration processes.
Project description:The assembly of large recombinant DNA encoding a whole biochemical pathway or genome represents a significant challenge. Here, we report a new method, DNA assembler, which allows the assembly of an entire biochemical pathway in a single step via in vivo homologous recombination in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We show that DNA assembler can rapidly assemble a functional D-xylose utilization pathway (approximately 9 kb DNA consisting of three genes), a functional zeaxanthin biosynthesis pathway (approximately 11 kb DNA consisting of five genes) and a functional combined D-xylose utilization and zeaxanthin biosynthesis pathway (approximately 19 kb consisting of eight genes) with high efficiencies (70-100%) either on a plasmid or on a yeast chromosome. As this new method only requires simple DNA preparation and one-step yeast transformation, it represents a powerful tool in the construction of biochemical pathways for synthetic biology, metabolic engineering and functional genomics studies.
Project description:DNA built from modular repeats presents a challenge for gene synthesis. We present a solid surface-based sequential ligation approach, which we refer to as iterative capped assembly (ICA), that adds DNA repeat monomers individually to a growing chain while using hairpin 'capping' oligonucleotides to block incompletely extended chains, greatly increasing the frequency of full-length final products. Applying ICA to a model problem, construction of custom transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs) for genome engineering, we demonstrate efficient synthesis of TALE DNA-binding domains up to 21 monomers long and their ligation into a nuclease-carrying backbone vector all within 3 h. We used ICA to synthesize 20 TALENs of varying DNA target site length and tested their ability to stimulate gene editing by a donor oligonucleotide in human cells. All the TALENS show activity, with the ones >15 monomers long tending to work best. Since ICA builds full-length constructs from individual monomers rather than large exhaustive libraries of pre-fabricated oligomers, it will be trivial to incorporate future modified TALE monomers with improved or expanded function or to synthesize other types of repeat-modular DNA where the diversity of possible monomers makes exhaustive oligomer libraries impractical.
Project description:The efficiency, versatility and multiplexing capacity of RNA-guided genome engineering using the CRISPR/Cas9 technology enables a variety of applications in plants, ranging from gene editing to the construction of transcriptional gene circuits, many of which depend on the technical ability to compose and transfer complex synthetic instructions into the plant cell. The engineering principles of standardization and modularity applied to DNA cloning are impacting plant genetic engineering, by increasing multigene assembly efficiency and by fostering the exchange of well-defined physical DNA parts with precise functional information.Here we describe the adaptation of the RNA-guided Cas9 system to GoldenBraid (GB), a modular DNA construction framework being increasingly used in Plant Synthetic Biology. In this work, the genetic elements required for CRISPRs-based editing and transcriptional regulation were adapted to GB, and a workflow for gRNAs construction was designed and optimized. New software tools specific for CRISPRs assembly were created and incorporated to the public GB resources site.The functionality and the efficiency of gRNA-Cas9 GB tools were demonstrated in Nicotiana benthamiana using transient expression assays both for gene targeted mutations and for transcriptional regulation. The availability of gRNA-Cas9 GB toolbox will facilitate the application of CRISPR/Cas9 technology to plant genome engineering.