Combinatorial metabolic engineering using an orthogonal tri-functional CRISPR system

Jiazhang Lian, Mohammad Hamedirad, Sumeng Hu, Huimin Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Designing an optimal microbial cell factory often requires overexpression, knock-down, and knock-out of multiple gene targets. Unfortunately, such rewiring of cellular metabolism is often carried out sequentially and with low throughput. Here, we report a combinatorial metabolic engineering strategy based on an orthogonal tri-functional CRISPR system that combines transcriptional activation, transcriptional interference, and gene deletion (CRISPR-AID) in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This strategy enables perturbation of the metabolic and regulatory networks in a modular, parallel, and high-throughput manner. We demonstrate the application of CRISPR-AID not only to increase the production of β-carotene by 3-fold in a single step, but also to achieve 2.5-fold improvement in the display of an endoglucanase on the yeast surface by optimizing multiple metabolic engineering targets in a combinatorial manner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1688
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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