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Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2008 Apr;78(5):801-10. doi: 10.1007/s00253-008-1373-x. Epub 2008 Feb 1.

Uncovering the gene knockout landscape for improved lycopene production in E. coli.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Room 56-469, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


Systematic and combinatorial genetic approaches for the identification of gene knockout and overexpression targets have been effectively employed in the improvement of cellular phenotypes. Previously, we demonstrated how two of these tools, metabolic modeling and transposon mutagenesis, can be combined to identify strains of interest spanning the metabolic landscape of recombinant lycopene production in Escherichia coli. However, it is unknown how to best select multiple-gene knockout targets. Hence, this study seeks to understand how the overall order of gene selection, or search trajectory, biases the exploration and topology of the metabolic landscape. In particular, transposon mutagenesis and selection were employed in the background of eight different knockout genotypes. Collectively, 800,000 mutants were analyzed in hopes of exhaustively identifying all advantageous gene knockout targets. Several interesting observations, including clusters of gene functions, recurrence, and divergent genotypes, demonstrate the complexity of mapping only one genotype to one phenotype. One particularly interesting mutant, the DeltahnrDeltayliE genotype, exhibited a drastically improved lycopene production capacity in basic minimal medium in comparison to the best strains identified in previous studies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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