Microfluidic Biocatalyst Optimization

Eliminate metabolic bottlenecks and improve titers, rates and yields

We use a microfluidic platform to rapidly screen engineered enzymes to identify improved and/or missing catalysts in production pathways.

This approach is compatible with aerobic/anaerobic enzyme screening (in vivo or cell-free).

Our system can use Transcription Factor-sensors or FRET and enzyme-linked sensors.

Once candidate genes have been identified, variants are engineered using rational design/directed evolution approaches. Appropriate sensors are linked to monitor reaction improvements, and in-depth characterization of candidate enzymes is carried out in vitro and in target host systems.

This pairing of microfluidics and biosensor design/engineering for molecular adaptation can be used to eliminate bottlenecks in metabolic engineering. We can incorporate improved biocatalysts into production strains to improve titers, rates, and yields of bioproducts.

This approach is aided by the availability of biosensors and is most successful with target proteins where:

  • structures can be inferred from database resources or
  • functional correlations between active and inactive enzymes can result from the study of evolutionary relationships in sequences of large numbers of homologs.
Labs:
  • Argonne National Laboratory
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory