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Dynamic regulation is an effective strategy for fine-tuning metabolic pathways in order to maximize target product synthesis. However, achieving dynamic and autonomous up- and down-regulation of the metabolic modules of interest simultaneously, still remains a great challenge. In this work, we created an autonomous dual-control (ADC) system, by combining CRISPRi-based NOT gates with novel biosensors of a key metabolite in the pathway of interest. By sensing the levels of the intermediate glucosamine-6-phosphate (GlcN6P) and self-adjusting the expression levels of the target genes accordingly with the GlcN6P biosensor and ADC system enabled feedback circuits, the metabolic flux towards the production of the high value nutraceutical N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) could be balanced and optimized in Bacillus subtilis. As a result, the GlcNAc titer in a 15-l fed-batch bioreactor increased from 59.9 g/l to 97.1 g/l with acetoin production and 81.7 g/l to 131.6 g/l without acetoin production, indicating the robustness and stability of the synthetic circuits in a large bioreactor system. Remarkably, this self-regulatory methodology does not require any external level of control such as the use of inducer molecules or switching fermentation/environmental conditions. Moreover, the proposed programmable genetic circuits may be expanded to engineer other microbial cells and metabolic pathways.
PMID: 31799627 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]