Expression Platforms for Functional Metagenomics: Emerging Technology Options Beyond Escherichia coli

  • Anna Lewin
  • Rahmi Lale
  • Alexander WentzelEmail author


Escherichia coli is the prime workhorse for various metagenomic applications due to the multitude of efficient tools available for genetic manipulation and controlled heterologous gene expression. However, metagenome-based bioprospecting efforts continuously target a wider spectrum of ecological niches in order to harvest new enzymes and bioactive compounds for industrial and medical applications from the enormous pool of natural microbial diversity. Consequently, the development of robust and flexible screening platforms that allow functional evaluation of an expanded fraction of the highly diverse metagenomic information is widely addressed in Functional Metagenomics research. The heterologous recognition of transcriptional regulators and promotors, diverse codon usages among environmental microorganisms, and sufficient supply of precursors for secondary metabolite formation are major challenges that are addressed by an increasing spectrum of alternative expression and host systems. This includes optimized broad host-range transfer and expression vectors, screening hosts for improved gene expression and metabolite formation, as well as cell-free expression systems to cover proteins that due to toxicity are inaccessible by in vivo screening methods. In this chapter, we provide a current overview of the state of the art of selected expression systems and host organisms useful for functional metagenome screening for new enzymes and bioactive metabolites, as emerging options beyond what is currently available in and for E. coli.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biotechnology and NanomedicineSINTEF Materials and ChemistryTrondheimNorway
  2. 2.Department of Biotechnology and Food SciencePhotoSynLab, Norwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway

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