Biotechnology

Outsourcing production on a small scale

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Science  06 Feb 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6222, pp. 624
DOI: 10.1126/science.347.6222.624-c

Microbes are wizards at making structurally intricate and bioactive molecules, but their products are usually only made in small quantities for local consumption. Zhou et al. demonstrate how thoughtful design and a bit of tinkering can lead to much greater yields of oxygenated taxanes, a precursor of the antitumor drug paclitaxel. First they split the job between a bacterium and a yeast. Second, they switched the fuel for these microbial factories from glucose (which the yeast turned into ethanol, which sedated the bacteria) to xylose (which the bacteria consumed and turned into acetate, which fed the yeast).

Nat. Biotechnol. 33, 10.1038/nbt.3095 (2015).

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