Metabolic Engineering of Synechocystis PCC 6803 for Butanol Production

  • Datum:
  • Plats: Häggsalen, Ångströmlaboratoriet, Lägerhyddsvägen 1, Uppsala
  • Doktorand: Miao, Rui
  • Om avhandlingen
  • Arrangör: Molekylär biomimetik
  • Kontaktperson: Miao, Rui
  • Disputation


There is an urgent demand for renewable alternatives to fossil fuels since the extraction and utilization cause a series of environmental problems in the world. Thus, the utilization of solar energy has attracted much attention in the last decades since there is excess amount of light on Earth. Photosynthetic microorganisms, such as cyanobacteria, can be a good biological chassis to convert solar energy directly to chemical energy. It has been demonstrated that cyanobacteria can produce various compounds which can be used asfourth-generation biofuels. This thesis focuses on the photo-autotrophic production of two biofuel compounds, isobutanol and 1-butanol, in the unicellular cyanobacterial strain Synechocystis PCC 6803. In the studies of isobutanol production, the endogenous alcohol dehydrogenase of Synechocystis encoded by slr1192 showed impressive activity in isobutanol formation. In addition, a-ketoisovalerate decarboxylase (Kivd) was identified as the only heterologous enzyme needed to be introduced for isobutanol production in Synechocystis. Kivd was further recognized as a bottleneck in the isobutanol production pathway. Therefore, Kivd was engineered via rational design to shift the preferential activity towards the production of isobutanol instead of the by-product 3-methyl-1-butanol. The best strain pEEK2-ST expressing KivdS286T showed dramatically increased productivity, and the activity of Kivd was successfully shifted further towards isobutanol production. A cumulative isobutanol titer of 911 mg L-1 was observed from this strain after 46 days growth under 50 μmol photons m−2 s−1 with pH adjusted to between 7 and 8. A maximum production rate of nearly 44 mg L-1d-1was reached between days 4 and 6. Similar metabolic engineering strategies were employed to generate 1-butanol producing Synechocystis strains and then to stepwise enhance the production. By selecting the best enzymes and promotors, 836 mg L-1 in-flask 1-butanol was produced. By optimizing the cultivation condition, an in-flask titer of 2.1 g L-1 and a maximal cumulative titer of 4.7 g L-1 were observed in the long-term cultivation. This thesis demonstrates different metabolic engineering strategies for producing valuable compounds in Synechocystis, exemplified with butanol, and how to enhance production systematically.