Synthetic RNA devices to expedite the evolution of metabolite-producing microbes

Jina Yang, Sang Woo Seo, Sungho Jang, So I. Shin, Chae Hyun Lim, Tae Young Roh, Gyoo Yeol Jung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

134 Scopus citations


An extension of directed evolution strategies to genome-wide variations increases the chance of obtaining metabolite-overproducing microbes. However, a general high-throughput screening platform for selecting improved strains remains out of reach. Here, to expedite the evolution of metabolite-producing microbes, we utilize synthetic RNA devices comprising a riboswitch and a selection module that specifically sense inconspicuous metabolites. Using L-lysine-producing Escherichia coli as a model system, we demonstrated that this RNA device could enrich pathway-optimized strains to up to 75% of the total population after four rounds of enrichment cycles. Furthermore, the potential applicability of this device was examined by successfully extending its application to the case of L-tryptophan. When used in conjunction with combinatorial mutagenesis for metabolite overproduction, our synthetic RNA device should facilitate strain improvement.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1413
JournalNature Communications
StatePublished - 2013


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