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Isoprenoids are a large class of natural products with myriad applications as bioactive and commercial compounds. Their diverse structures are derived from the biosynthetic assembly and tailoring of their scaffolds, ultimately constructed from two C5 hemiterpene building blocks. The modular logic of these platforms can be harnessed to improve titers of valuable isoprenoids in diverse hosts and to produce new-to-nature compounds. Often, this process is facilitated by the substrate or product promiscuity of the component enzymes, which can be leveraged to produce novel isoprenoids. To complement rational enhancements and even re-programming of isoprenoid biosynthesis, high-throughput approaches that rely on searching through large enzymatic libraries are being developed. This review summarizes recent advances and strategies related to isoprenoid synthetic biology, combinatorial biosynthesis, and chemo-enzymatic synthesis, focusing on the past 5 years. Emerging applications of cell-free biosynthesis and high-throughput tools are included that culminate in a discussion of the future outlook and perspective of isoprenoid biosynthetic engineering.


Alexandra A Malico, Miles A Calzini, Anuran K Gayen, Gavin J Williams. Synthetic biology, combinatorial biosynthesis, and chemo‑enzymatic synthesis of isoprenoids. Journal of industrial microbiology & biotechnology. 2020 Oct;47(9-10):675-702

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PMID: 32880770

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