A Standard Framework for Directed Evolution
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One may say that our project, the project of XJTU-China 2018, is established from two distinct point of views. The design philosophy of synthetic biology: top-down and bottom-up meets and thus is how we come up with our idea.
The first idea comes from the dillema for those who want to lose weight, or especilly for those who suffer from diabetes: health and taste. Sugar are delightful but the energy it provides may lead to trouble. That's the reason why a variety of sugar substitutes emerge, but none with a clear record of health concerns. Here we introduce psicose, a rare sugar, the C-3 epimer of fructose, which is the ultimate solution of saccharose substitute: a perfect balance between sweetness and low energy(about 3% of that in saccharose).
Chemical manufacturing of psicose is laborous and poses trouble in chiral separation. Biomanufacturing is promising but suffers severely from low enzymatic activity. The goal of our team is to find a reliable, robust and high throughput method in screening for enzymes with high activity.
The second idea emerges from the concerns about the instability of traditional continuous-culture-based directed evolution. Why an accelerated Darwinian evolution is never achieved with simple pressure-introducing tools such as toxic proteins or antibiotics? With this in mind, we would manage to build up a Standard Framework for Directed Evolution with detailed data and standarized procedures.
We are applying this exciting new method in searching for a more optimized enzyme for the biomanufacturing of psicose.
Lab overview 1
Lab overview 2
Lab overview 3