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New BioFactory Technique Developed using sRNAs​
View : 6247 Date : 2013-02-21 Writer : ed_news


Professor Sang Yup Lee


- published on the online edition of Nature Biotechnology. “Expected as a new strategy for the bio industry that may replace the chemical industry.”-

KAIST Chemical & Biomolecular engineering department’s Professor Sang Yup Lee and his team has developed a new technology that utilizes the synthetic small regulatory RNAs (sRNAs) to implement the BioFactory in a larger scale with more effectiveness.

* BioFactory: Microbial-based production system which creates the desired compound in mass by manipulating the genes of the cell.

In order to solve the problems of modern society, such as environmental pollution caused by the exhaustion of fossil fuels and usage of petrochemical products, an eco-friendly and sustainable bio industry is on the rise. BioFactory development technology has especially attracted the attention world-wide, with its ability to produce bio-energy, pharmaceuticals, eco-friendly materials and more.

For the development of an excellent BioFactory, selection for the gene that produces the desired compounds must be accompanied by finding the microorganism with high production efficiency; however, the previous research method had a complicated and time-consuming problem of having to manipulate the genes of the microorganism one by one.

Professor Sang Yup Lee’s research team, including Dr. Dokyun Na and Dr. Seung Min Yoo, has produced the synthetic sRNAs and utilized it to overcome the technical limitations mentioned above.

In particular, unlike the existing method, this technology using synthetic sRNAs exhibits no strain specificity which can dramatically shorten the experiment that used to take months to just a few days.

The research team applied the synthetic small regulatory RNA technology to the production of the tyrosine*, which is used as the precursor of the medicinal compound, and cadaverine**, widely utilized in a variety of petrochemical products, and has succeeded developing BioFactory with the world’s highest yield rate (21.9g /L, 12.6g / L each).

*tyrosine: amino acid known to control stress and improve concentration
**cadaverine: base material used in many petrochemical products, such as polyurethane

Professor Sang Yup Lee highlighted the significance of this research: “it is expected the synthetic small regulatory RNA technology will stimulate the BioFactory development and also serve as a catalyst which can make the chemical industry, currently represented by its petroleum energy, transform into bio industry.”

The study was carried out with the support of Global Frontier Project (Intelligent Bio-Systems Design and Synthesis Research Unit (Chief Seon Chang Kim)) and the findings have been published on January 20th in the online edition of the worldwide journal Nature Biotechnology.



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