Periodic Reporting for period 1 - THERMCP (Construction of microcompartments in thermophilic Geobacillus thermoglucosidasius as nano-bioreactors for advanced biofuels production at high temperature)
Reporting period: 2016-05-09 to 2018-05-08
The THERMCP objectives were: 1). To search for shell protein homologs in the available sequenced genomes of Geobacillus species and perform bioinformatics analysis of the pdu operon from G. thermoglucosidasius; 2). To establish the protein engineering rules and the ultimate benefit of directing the Pdc and Adh enzymes required for ethanol production to the Pdu MCP shell of thermophilic G. thermoglucosidasius; 3). To engineer a strain of G. thermoglucosidasius capable of overproducing 2-ketoisovalerate (2-kiv) as described in the literature, in a strain where fermentation pathways have been deleted; 4). To use the strain developed in 3. as a platform to engineer a novel keto-acid dehydrogenase and acylating alcohol dehydrogenase route for isobutanol production, and introduce this into the protein MCP in thermophilic G. thermoglucosidasius. The project has achieved most of its objectives and milestones for the period, with relatively minor deviations.
Furthermore, a set of project training objectives were satisfied to reintegrate Dr. Yana Wade into the research environment after a career break. She also gained a thorough grounding in microbial engineering of thermophiles to complement her existing knowledge and skills in thermophilic environmental microbiology providing a foundation for a research career in industrial applied microbiology.
A manuscript describing heterologous microcompartment assembly in Bacillaceae and establishing the components necessary for scaffold formation was submitted to ACS Synthetic Biology [Under Review]. Research has been actively disseminated by the Fellow to academic beneficiaries at several high-profile conferences, maximising the impact of the project at an international level. The Fellow engaged with the wider community (e.g. general public, industry, stakeholders) to develop awareness on how her research has an impact in their lives and work, where efficient biofuel/high-value chemical production acts as a platform for a “green energy” future. Furthermore, the work of Dr. Wade was showcased as a successful female role model in science at events targeting the next generation of young female researchers.
Dr. Wade successfully reintegrated back into academia, broadened her research and technical skills in interdisciplinary fields such as bioinformatics, microbial engineering, synthetic biology and applied microbiology fields, and developed leadership and management skills relevant for future career.