NEW WINE FROM OLD BARRELS: REPURPOSING BIOLOGY THROUGH SYNTHETIC ENZYMOLOGY
Wen Shan Yew
National University of Singapore, Singapore Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, Singapore
Singapore Consortium for Synthetic Biology, Singapore Synthetic enzymology is an enabling discipline within synthetic biology. One of the most commonly required functions of synthetic biology is the production of biochemicals such as polyketides. Polyketides are a large class of biomolecules that are naturally produced by bacteria, fungi and plants, and include many clinically important biomolecules with anti-cancer, anti-microbial, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. They are biosynthesized from acyl-CoA precursors by polyketide synthases (PKSs), and due to their chemical complexity, are not easily synthesized and structurally manipulated by chemical means. In order to fully realize the potential and use of synthetic biology in the biochemical production of polyketides, toolkits for enzymatic biosynthesis (and the enabling platform technologies that describe these toolkits) must be developed and made available to the synthetic biology community. In this presentation, the utility of synthetic enzymology for the purposeful production and development of therapeutics will be discussed. The repurposing of polyketide synthases for the biosynthesis of another large class of biomolecules, the alkaloids, will also be presented to illustrate the potential of synthetic enzymology.