Thermophilic bacterial and archaeal chassis for extremolyte production
This ERA-CoBiotech project is developing thermophilic in vitro enzyme cascades as well as two new chassis, the thermophilic bacterium Thermus thermophilus (Tth, 65-75°C, pH 7.0) and the thermoacidophilic archaeon Sulfolobus acidocaldarius (Saci, 75-80°C, pH 2-4), as new thermophilic, bacterial and archaeal platforms for the in vivo production of novel high added-value products. These include ‘extremolytes’ that are small molecular compatible solutes found naturally in the cells of thermophilic species that accumulate in the cell in response to multiple environmental stresses and stabilize cellular components (including proteins, membranes). These Extermolytes possess great potential for application in the food, health care consumer care and cosmetics market. However, extremolytes cannot be produced in current mesophilic production hosts and therefore two thermophilic host Thermus thermophilus and Sulfolobus acidocaldarius of bacterial and archaeal origin, respectively, will be established as novel platform organisms.
The development of the newly designed ‘cell factories’ will be used for the production of three extremolytes, cyclic 2,3 di-phosphoglycerate (cDPG), di-myo-1,1’-inositol-phosphate (DIP) and mannosylglycerate (MG). These extremolyte biosynthetic pathways have been identified and many of the enzymes involved have been characterized. Within the project in addition to these enzymes, new candidates will be provided by (meta)genome searches and newly isolated strains from (hyper)thermophilic habitats.
Symbolic representation of the project workflow for the extremolyte production
Compatible Solutes and Extremolytes
Extremolytes are compatible solutes that are exclusively found in extremophiles and especially (hyper)thermophiles but not in mesophilic organisms. Such extremolytes include cyclic 2,3-di-phosphoglycerate (cDPG), di-myo-1,1’-inositol-phosphate (DIP) and mannosylglycerate (MG). However, their potential for industrial/biotechnological applications remains largely unexploited, mainly because efficient synthesis pathways to make their production economically viable are missing..