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One interesting strategy for optimizing flux through a pathway is the design of protein scaffolds which spatially recruit components of a metabolic pathway. This "increases the effective concentration of each component of a pathway of interest", a useful property to increase flux without necessarily increasing expression of each component. Gabe Wu, a grad student in my year, is second author on this one. [1] *Michael Hammerling 11:26, 13 February 2012 (EST):

  • Razan Alnahhas 18:45, 19 February 2012 (EST): The paper had a lot of interesting and useful information, and I've added a second paragraph under flux balance analysis with what I learned from it, thanks.
  • Midhat Patel 12:50, 27 February 2012 (EST): I don't fully understand how adding a ligand-binding site to the enzymes involved in a metabolic product's production can increase its yield without increasing expression of the gene. Does it allow increase of enzymatic activity in the presence of the ligand?

Things that would be good to address: 1) toxicity of intermediates and products in metabolic engineering, their effect on the host organisms, and the ways that this is dealt with. 2) What is the efficiency of the production of biofuels? Mass in to mass out? 3) what are the different feed stocks one uses? pros and cons of each?*Brian Renda 17:03, 13 February 2012 (EST):

  • Yi Kou 02:17, 14 February 2012 (EST):I think considering the yield, it should be mole in&out.
  • Jeffrey E. Barrick 22:30, 18 February 2012 (EST):That's the theoretical maximum yield, but it's difficult to ever achieve that, especially in these organic systems where you are sometimes trying to divert biomass production (that is, more cells) into yield of your bioproduct.
  • Razan Alnahhas 23:20, 18 February 2012 (EST): I was able to find the necessary theoretical yields in g/L and the needed percent yield of this theoretical yield that would be necessary for the biofuel production to be efficient and I've added that to the page.
  • Ben Slater 23:33, 13 February 2012 (EST): The University of Washington, last year's iGEM winner, had a project that seems to fit in with biofuels/metabolic engineering (results). I'd also recommend checking out the other half of their project, the gluten destruction component, just because it's cool.
  • Peter Otoupal 14:36, 17 February 2012 (EST):The University of Nevada had a similar project if we're looking at teams who have worked on producing biofuels in the past. Yay biofuels!
  • Razan Alnahhas 23:20, 18 February 2012 (EST): These article were really helpful and interesting, thanks. Also just an interesting point I found from reading them is that the Washington team was focused on using ethanol which can't be transported in existing pipeline, and papers I read were focused on butanol because it can possibly be transported in existing pipelines.
  • Yi Kou 02:17, 14 February 2012 (EST): I am just curious, suppose you get all necessary components for a kind of fuel, how do you adjust the concentration? or how do you extract one solvent from another (consider propanol from isobutanol, or hexane from ethyl acetate for esp)? Evaporation (even use rotavapor at fixed temp) would result in a mixture of some extent.
  • Razan Alnahhas 23:20, 18 February 2012 (EST): I wasn't able to find this information, but I think the reason none of the papers I found covered it is possibly because we have yet to reach efficient production, so extraction isn't being done yet.


  1. Dueber JE, Wu GC, Malmirchegini GR, Moon TS, Petzold CJ, Ullal AV, Prather KL, and Keasling JD. Synthetic protein scaffolds provide modular control over metabolic flux. Nat Biotechnol. 2009 Aug;27(8):753-9. DOI:10.1038/nbt.1557 | PubMed ID:19648908 | HubMed [WuPaper]