Synthetic Metabolism: Engineering Biology at the Protein and Pathway Scales

Collin H. Martin, David R. Nielsen, Kevin V. Solomon, Kristala L.Jones Prather

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Biocatalysis has become a powerful tool for the synthesis of high-value compounds, particularly so in the case of highly functionalized and/or stereoactive products. Nature has supplied thousands of enzymes and assembled them into numerous metabolic pathways. Although these native pathways can be use to produce natural bioproducts, there are many valuable and useful compounds that have no known natural biochemical route. Consequently, there is a need for both unnatural metabolic pathways and novel enzymatic activities upon which these pathways can be built. Here, we review the theoretical and experimental strategies for engineering synthetic metabolic pathways at the protein and pathway scales, and highlight the challenges that this subfield of synthetic biology currently faces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-286
Number of pages10
JournalChemistry and Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 27 2009
Externally publishedYes



ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Clinical Biochemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Synthetic Metabolism: Engineering Biology at the Protein and Pathway Scales'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this