“Every step of progress the world has made has been from scaffold to scaffold (...)”
Scaffococcus: Lactococcus scaffold
This year we genetically engineered a strain of the species Lactococcus lactis by introducing optimized genes of the bacterium Clostridium thermocellum. Our ultimate goal was to obtain an organism capable of expressing a customizable extracellular platform that could harbour a very wide range of enzymes that, in turn, would be able to carry out a seemingly endless variety of metabolic processes. Due to its high potential for further engineering, we believe the scaffold to be a very important advancement in the biotechnology landscape.
We believe the scaffold to have many serious implications, since it may tackle many different issues such as customizing and facilitating the creation of synthetic metabolic pathways, and the processing of substrates in industrial processes.
The implications are:
Ordered Multi-step Processes
Fusion of Non-prokaryotic Proteins to Scaffold
The Alcohol-to-Carboxylic-Acid Pathway
We believe that one of the strongest points about the scaffold is its ability to harbor proteins in an ordered fashion. This feature alone will have a huge impact on the engineering of processes, since artificial metabolic pathways can be tailored for specific needs, and then displayed on the scaffold for diverse industrial and research purposes. To affirm this presumption, we decided to build a metabolic pathway that could be easily measurable and in which the scaffold’s contribution to its efficiency could be readily measurable.
We prototyped the alcohol-to-carboxylic-acid pathway, which was thought to transform ethanol into acetic acid through a two-step mechanism. We displayed alcohol dehydrogenase and aldehyde dehydrogenase sequentially onto the scaffold which would, in principle, yield the desired compound in an efficient manner. The efficiency of the pathway would be readily measurable by assaying the production of the pathway’s final product, acetic acid.