The Plasticity of Cyanobacterial Carbon Metabolism

Jianping Yu, Wei Xiong, Damien Douchi, Melissa Cano, Bo Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus Citations


This opinion article aims to raise awareness of a fundamental issue which governs sustainable production of biofuels and bio-chemicals from photosynthetic cyanobacteria. Discussed is the plasticity of carbon metabolism, by which the cyanobacterial cells flexibly distribute intracellular carbon fluxes towards target products and adapt to environmental/genetic alterations. This intrinsic feature in cyanobacterial metabolism is being understood through recent identification of new biochemical reactions and engineering on low-throughput pathways. We focus our discussion on new insights into the nature of metabolic plasticity in cyanobacteria and its impact on hydrocarbons (e.g. ethylene and isoprene) production. We discuss approaches that need to be developed to rationally rewire photosynthetic carbon fluxes throughout primary metabolism. We outline open questions about the regulatory mechanisms of the metabolic network that remain to be answered, which might shed light on photosynthetic carbon metabolism and help optimize design principles in order to improve the production of fuels and chemicals in cyanobacteria.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)12-19
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Chemical Biology
StatePublished - Dec 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-2700-68379


  • biochemicals
  • biofuels
  • cyanobacteria


Dive into the research topics of 'The Plasticity of Cyanobacterial Carbon Metabolism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this