Synthetic biology approaches for secondary metabolism engineering

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Secondary metabolism is a rich and important source of chemical compounds with potential applications in several fields, including the human health. The genes involved in the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites in microorganisms and plants are often clustered and functionally structured into biosynthetic and regulatory modules. This structure made them ideal targets for metabolic engineering methods that follow the postulates of the synthetic biology. Considering that biological systems are composed by functional and structural modules, synthetic biology methods will allow the localization, decoding, and characterization of these modules that could be artificially assembled to build living entities with new functions and properties. The modern genomics and systems biology techniques allowed the characterization of secondary metabolites and the genes and enzymes responsible for their biosynthesis. Applying the ideas of the synthetic biology, the modern methods of genome analysis and manipulation, and the artificial intelligence algorithms, we can rationally design and build new secondary metabolites and improve the production of the already existing ones. This chapter will summarize the current methods and strategies for the use of synthetic biology in the rational design and optimization of secondary metabolite production.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMicrobial Cell Factories Engineering for Production of Biomolecules
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780128214770
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021


  • Antibiotic
  • Biological engineering
  • Biosynthetic cluster
  • Genome editing
  • Secondary metabolism
  • Synthetic biology


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