Piezotolerance as a metabolic engineering tool for the biosynthesis of natural products

Phillip C. Wright, Robin E. Westacott, Adam M. Burja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Thermodynamically, high-pressure (>10's of MPa) has a potentially vastly superior effect on reactions and their rates within metabolic processes than temperature. Thus, it might be expected that changes in the pressure experienced by living organisms would have effects on the products of their metabolism. To examine the potential for modification of metabolic pathways based on thermodynamic principles we have performed simple molecular dynamics simulations, in vacuo and in aquo on the metabolites synthesized by recombinant polyketide synthases (PKS). We were able to determine, in this in silico study, the volume changes associated with each reaction step along the parallel PKS pathways. Results indicate the importance of explicitly including the solvent in the simulations. Furthermore, the addition of solvent and high pressure reveals that high pressure may have a beneficial effect on certain pathways over others. Thus, the future looks bright for pressure driven novel secondary metabolite discoveries, and their sustained and efficient production via metabolic engineering. © 2003 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-331
Number of pages7
JournalBiomolecular Engineering
Issue number4-6
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2003


  • Deep sea
  • Marine natural products
  • Metabolic engineering
  • Non-ribosomal peptide synthetase
  • Piezophilic
  • Piezotolerant
  • Polyketide synthase


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