Metabolic engineering 2018 05 16() pii 10.1016/j.ymben.2018.05.005


The itinerary followed by Pseudomonas putida from being a soil-dweller and plant colonizer bacterium to become a flexible and engineer-able platform for metabolic engineering stems from its natural lifestyle, which is adapted to harsh environmental conditions and all sorts of physicochemical stresses. Over the years, these properties have been capitalized biotechnologically owing to the expanding wealth of genetic tools designed for deep-editing the P. putida genome. A suite of dedicated vectors inspired in the core tenets of synthetic biology have enabled to suppress many of the naturally-occurring undesirable traits native to this species while enhancing its many appealing properties, and also to import catalytic activities and attributes from other biological systems. Much of the biotechnological interest on P. putida stems from the distinct architecture of its central carbon metabolism. The native biochemistry is naturally geared to generate reductive currency [i.e., NAD(P)H] that makes this bacterium a phenomenal host for redox-intensive reactions. In some cases, genetic editing of the indigenous biochemical network of P. putida (cis-metabolism) has sufficed to obtain target compounds of industrial interest. Yet, the main value and promise of this species (in particular, strain KT2440) resides not only in its capacity to host heterologous pathways from other microorganisms, but also altogether artificial routes (trans-metabolism) for making complex, new-to-Nature molecules. A number of examples are presented for substantiating the worth of P. putida as one of the favorite workhorses for sustainable manufacturing of fine and bulk chemicals in the current times of the 4th Industrial Revolution. The potential of P. putida to extend its rich native biochemistry beyond existing boundaries is discussed and research bottlenecks to this end are also identified. These aspects include not just the innovative genetic design of new strains but also the incorporation of novel chemical elements into the extant biochemistry, as well as genomic stability and scaling-up issues.