Review: Computational approaches to design and test plant synthetic metabolic pathways (Plant Physiol)

As photosynthetic organisms, plants are desirable and potentially cost-effective chassis for the production of novel compounds, but they are also inherently metabolically complex. Synthetic metabolic pathways can also improve upon nature by making plants more metabolically efficient. Küken and Nikoloski review methods to design novel synthetic metabolic pathways for expression in plants.
As the authors state, this review emphasizes “understanding the effect that metabolic designs can have on native metabolism, particularly with respect to metabolite concentrations and thermodynamics of biochemical reactions.” It also addresses the factors that must be considered when applying methods developed for microbes into more complex species. As someone seeking to learn more about synthetic biology, I found this review to be both interesting and accessible. (Summary by Mary Williams) Plant Physiol. 10.1104/pp.18.01273