Project PI: Dr. Magda Faijes

Progress in synthetic and systems biology has empowered metabolic engineering with tools and strategies to rewire the metabolism of microorganisms to optimize the flux to specific products of interest. We use E. coli (prokaryotic model) and S. cerevisiae (eukaryotic model) as metabolic engineering platforms targeting glycolipids as biomolecules with a broad range of applications: glycoglycerolipids as biosurfactans for drug delivery systems, and glycosphingolipids as immunomodulators.

Despite the biomedical interest of glycolipids, the synthesis of these compounds is limiting to their studies. We propose metabolic engineering as an alternative strategy to produce these added-value compounds. In collaboration with Dr. Marjan de Mey’s group (Metabolic Engineering of Microorganisms group, Gent University, Belgium), we designed different metabolic engineering strategies to enhance the availability of lipidic and nucleotide sugar precursors of the MG517 glycolipid synthase by modulating fatty acids, acyl donor and phosphatidic acid biosynthesis. The engineered pathways for enhanced diacylglycerol availability provide a novel E.coli platform to access a wide range of glycoglycerolipids.

Selected publications:

Metabolic engineering for glycoglycerolipids production in E. coli: tuning phosphatidic acid and UDP-glucose pathways.
N. Orive-Milla, T. Demulle, M. de Mey, M. Faijes, A Planas.
Metabolic Engineering 61, 106-119 (2020). Abstract

An engineered E. coli strain for the production of glycoglycerolipids.
N. Mora, M. Faijes, A. Planas.
Metabolic Engineering 14, 551–559 (2012).