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Synthetic biology applications in industrial microbiology

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889193424 Year: Pages: 129 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-342-4 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Environmental Sciences --- Biotechnology --- General and Civil Engineering --- Microbiology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-03-10 08:14:32
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Exponentially increasing information on biological organisms coupled with increasing computational power in the past decade have broadened the perspective of fundamental biological research, bringing about considerable promise and unprecedented potential for practical applications in biotechnology. As one emergent discipline, synthetic biology aims to design and engineer novel biologically-based parts, devices, and systems, in addition to redesigning existing, natural biological systems. Although previously relegated to demonstration studies, more recent research in synthetic biology has focused on the rational engineering of industrial microorganisms with the potential to address many of society’s critical challenges. Within the realm of industrial microbiology, progress in the field of synthetic biology has enabled the development of, for example, new biosynthetic pathways for the production of renewable fuels and chemicals, programmable logic controls to regulate and optimize cell function, and robust microbes for the destruction of harmful environmental contaminants. Some of the exciting examples included producing anti-malarial drug, anti- cancer taxol precursor and various biofuel molecules in E. coli and yeast. In addition, these researches have also greatly enhanced our understanding of the cellular machinery and its regulation in some of the industry important microbes, laying an important foundation for further design and engineering of biological function for even greater application. For these reasons, we present here a collection of articles from the leading edge of the field of synthetic biology, with a specific focus on the development in industrial microorganisms. It is the intent of this collection to reach a wide audience whose interests and expertise spans from development of novel synthetic biology methodologies and theories (both experimental and computational) to practical applications seeking to address issues facing the world today.

Synthetic Biology: Engineering complexity and refactoring cell capabilities

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889196852 Year: Pages: 123 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-685-2 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Biotechnology --- General and Civil Engineering
Added to DOAB on : 2015-10-30 16:33:44
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One of the key features of biological systems is complexity, where the behavior of high level structures is more than the sum of the direct interactions between single components. Synthetic Biologists aim to use rational design to build new systems that do not already exist in nature and that exhibit useful biological functions with different levels of complexity. One such case is metabolic engineering, where, with the advent of genetic and protein engineering, by supplying cells with chemically synthesized non-natural amino acids and sugars as new building blocks, it is now becoming feasible to introduce novel physical and chemical functions and properties into biological entities. The rules of how complex behaviors arise, however, are not yet well understood. For instance, instead of considering cells as inert chassis in which synthetic devices could be easily operated to impart new functions, the presence of these systems may impact cell physiology with reported effects on transcription, translation, metabolic fitness and optimal resource allocation. The result of these changes in the chassis may be failure of the synthetic device, unexpected or reduced device behavior, or perhaps a more permissive environment in which the synthetic device is allowed to function. While new efforts have already been made to increase standardization and characterization of biological components in order to have well known parts as building blocks for the construction of more complex devices, also new strategies are emerging to better understand the biological dynamics underlying the phenomena we observe. For example, it has been shown that the features of single biological components [i.e. promoter strength, ribosome binding affinity, etc] change depending on the context where the sequences are allocated. Thus, new technical approaches have been adopted to preserve single components activity, as genomic insulation or the utilization of prediction algorithms able to take biological context into account. There have been noteworthy advances for synthetic biology in clinical technologies, biofuel production, and pharmaceuticals production; also, metabolic engineering combined with microbial selection/adaptation and fermentation processes allowed to make remarkable progress towards bio-products formation such as bioethanol, succinate, malate and, more interestingly, heterologous products or even non-natural metabolites. However, despite the many progresses, it is still clear that ad hoc trial and error predominates over purely bottom-up, rational design approaches in the synthetic biology community. In this scenario, modelling approaches are often used as a descriptive tool rather than for the prediction of complex behaviors. The initial confidence on a pure reductionist approach to the biological world has left space to a new and deeper investigation of the complexity of biological processes to gain new insights and broaden the categories of synthetic biology. In this Research Topic we host contributions that explore and address two areas of Synthetic Biology at the intersection between rational design and natural complexity: (1) the impact of synthetic devices on the host cell, or "chassis" and (2) the impact of context on the synthetic devices. Particular attention will be given to the application of these principles to the rewiring of cell metabolism in a bottom-up fashion to produce non-natural metabolites or chemicals that should eventually serve as a substitute for petrol-derived chemicals, and, on a long-term view, to provide economical, ecological and ethical solutions to today’s energetic and societal challenges.

Dual-Use Life Science Research and Biosecurity in the 21st Century: Social, Technical, Policy, and Ethical Challenges

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889195688 Year: Pages: 95 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-568-8 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Public Health --- Medicine (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-02-05 17:24:33
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In September 2011, scientists announced new experimental findings that would not only threaten the conduct and publication of influenza research, but would have significant policy and intelligence implications. The findings presented a modified variant of the H5N1 avian influenza virus (hereafter referred to as the H5N1 virus) that was transmissible via aerosol between ferrets. These results suggested a worrisome possibility: the existence of a new airborne and highly lethal H5N1 virus that could cause a deadly global pandemic. In response, a series of international discussions on the nature of dual-use life science arose. These discussions addressed the complex social, technical, political, security, and ethical issues related to dual-use research. This Research Topic will be devoted to contributions that explore this matrix of issues from a variety of case study and international perspectives.

Salinity Tolerance in Plants: Mechanisms and Regulation of Ion Transport

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889453696 Year: Pages: 243 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-369-6 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Botany
Added to DOAB on : 2018-02-27 16:16:45
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Life presumably arose in the primeval oceans with similar or even greater salinity than the present ocean, so the ancient cells were designed to withstand salinity. However, the immediate ancestors of land plants most likely lived in fresh, or slightly brackish, water. The fresh/brackish water origins might explain why many land plants, including some cereals, can withstand moderate salinity, but only 1 – 2 % of all the higher plant species were able to re-discover their saline origins again and survive at increased salinities close to that of seawater. From a practical side, salinity is among the major threats to agriculture, having been one of the reasons for the demise of the ancient Mesopotamian Sumer civilisation and in the present time causing huge annual economic losses of over 10 billion USD. The effects of salinity on plants include osmotic stress, disruption of membrane ion transport, direct toxicity of high cytoplasmic concentrations of sodium and chloride on cellular processes and induced oxidative stress. Ion transport is the crucial starting point that determines salinity tolerance in plants. Transport via membranes is mediated mostly by the ion channels and transporters, which ensure selective passage of specific ions. The molecular and structural diversity of these ion channels and transporters is amazing. Obtaining the detailed descriptions of distinct ion channels and transporters present in halophytes, marine algae and salt-tolerant fungi and then progressing to the cellular and the whole organism mechanisms, is one of the logical ways to understand high salinity tolerance. Transfer of the genes from halophytes to agricultural crops is a means to increase salt tolerance of the crops. The theoretical scientific approaches involve protein chemistry, structure-function relations of membrane proteins, synthetic biology, systems biology and physiology of stress and ion homeostasis. At the time of compiling this e-book many aspects of ion transport under salinity stress are not yet well understood. The e-book has attracted researchers in ion transport and salinity tolerance. We have combined our efforts to achieve a wider, more detailed understanding of salt tolerance in plants mediated by ion transport, to understand present and future ways to modify and manipulate ion transport and salinity tolerance and also to find natural limits for the modifications.

Foundations of Theoretical Approaches in Systems Biology

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889456833 Year: Pages: 216 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-683-3 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Biology
Added to DOAB on : 2019-01-23 14:53:43
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If biology in the 20th century was characterized by an explosion of new technologies and experimental methods, that of the 21st has seen an equally exuberant proliferation of mathematical and computational methods that attempt to systematize and explain the abundance of available data. As we live through the consolidation of a new paradigm where experimental data goes hand in hand with computational analysis, we contemplate the challenge of fusing these two aspects of the new biology into a consistent theoretical framework. Whether systems biology will survive as a field or be washed away by the tides of future fads will ultimately depend on its success to achieve this type of synthesis. The famous quote attributed to Kurt Lewin comes to mind: "there is nothing more practical than a good theory". This book presents a wide assortment of articles on systems biology in an attempt to capture the variety of current methods in systems biology and show how they can help to find answers to the challenges of modern biology.

Precision Medicine in Oncology

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889457052 Year: Pages: 163 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-705-2 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Medicine (General) --- Oncology
Added to DOAB on : 2019-01-23 14:53:43
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The emerging precision medicine approach aims to tailor disease prevention and treatment to each patient on the basis of individual variability, environmental factors and lifestyle. Fundamental achievements in the last few decades have converged to offer nowadays the compelling opportunity to move towards this innovative approach: i) unprecedented improvements in disease modeling in silico, in vitro and in vivo; ii) acquisition of a wide range of biomedical information combined with the development of computational toolsets for flexible and integrative analyses of multi-assay datasets. Our deeper understanding of oncogenic mechanisms has finally begun to have a crucial impact on clinical decisions at several steps, from cancer prevention and diagnosis to therapeutic intervention. However, precision oncology still encounters several unresolved hurdles including tumour heterogeneity and recurrence as well as unexplained drug resistance and lack of effective ways to monitor response to therapeutic treatments. Notably, limitations in biomedical research regulation and governance represent additional debatable issues that need careful consideration.

Root Systems Biology

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889192755 Year: Pages: 130 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-275-5 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Botany --- General and Civil Engineering --- Biotechnology
Added to DOAB on : 2015-12-03 13:02:24
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The understanding of biological complexity has been greatly facilitated by cross-disciplinary, holistic approaches that allow insights into the function and regulation of biological processes that cannot be captured by dissecting them into their individual components. In addition, the development of novel tools has dramatically increased our ability to interrogate information at the nucleic acid, protein and metabolite level. The integration and interpretation of disparate data sets, however, still remain a major challenge in systems biology. Roots provide an excellent model for studying physiological, developmental, and metabolic processes. The availability of genetic resources, along with sequenced genomes has allowed important discoveries in root biochemistry, development and function. Roots are transparent, allowing optical investigation of gene activity in individual cells and experimental manipulation. In addition, the predictable fate of cells emerging from the root meristem and the continuous development of roots throughout the life of the plant, which permits simultaneous observation of different developmental stages, provide ideal premises for the analysis of growth and differentiation. Moreover, a genetically fixed cellular organization allows for studying the utilization of positional information and other non-cell-autonomous phenomena, which are of utmost importance in plant development. Although their ontogeny is largely invariant under standardized experimental conditions, roots possess an extraordinary capacity to respond to a plethora of environmental signals, resulting in distinct phenotypic readouts. This high phenotypic plasticity allows research into acclimative and adaptive strategies, the understanding of which is crucial for germplasm enhancement and crop improvement. With the aim of providing a current snapshot on the function and development of roots at the systems level, this Research Topic collated original research articles, methods articles, reviews, mini reviews and perspective, opinion and hypotheses articles that communicate breakthroughs in root biology, as well as recent advances in research technologies and data analysis.

Biofuels and Biochemicals Production

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ISBN: 9783038425540 9783038425557 Year: Pages: 196 DOI: 10.3390/books978-3-03842-555-7 Language: English
Publisher: MDPI - Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute
Subject: Biology
Added to DOAB on : 2018-01-10 12:39:10
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The high demand and depletion of petroleum reserves and the associated impact on the environment, together with volatility in the energy market price over the past three decades, have led to tremendous efforts in bio-based research activities, especially in biofuels and biochemicals. Most people associate petroleum with gasoline, however, approximately 6000 petroleum-derived products are available on the market today. Ironically, these petroleum-derived products have not elicited a high level of interest among the populace and media due, in part, to little awareness of the origins of these important products. Given the finite nature of petroleum, it is critical to devote substantial amounts of energy and resources on the development of renewable chemicals, as is currently done for fuels. Theoretically, the bioproduction of gasoline-like fuels and the 6000 petroleum-derived products are within the realm of possibility since our aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems contain abundant and diverse microorganisms capable of catalyzing unlimited numbers of reactions. Moreover, the fields of synthetic biology and metabolic engineering have evolved to the point that a wide range of microorganisms can be enticed or manipulated to catalyze foreign, or improve indigenous, biosynthetic reactions. To increase the concentration of products of interest and to ensure consistent productivity and yield, compatible fermentation processes must be used. Greater agricultural and chemical production during the past three decades, due in part to population increase and industrialization, has generated increasing levels of waste, which must be treated prior to discharge into waterways or wastewater treatment plants. Thus, in addition to the need to understand the physiology and metabolism of microbial catalysts of biotechnological significance, development of cost-effective fermentation strategies to produce biofuels and chemicals of interests while generating minimal waste, or better yet, converting waste into value-added products, is crucial. In this Special Issue, we invite authors to submit original research and review articles that increase our understanding of fermentation technology vis-à-vis production of liquid biofuels and biochemicals, and fermentation strategies that alleviate product toxicity to the fermenting microorganism while enhancing productivity. Further, original research articles and reviews focused on anaerobic digestion, production of gaseous biofuels, fermentation optimization using modelling and simulations, metabolic engineering, or development of tailor-made fermentation processes are welcome.

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