Reverse β-oxidation pathways for efficient chemical production

Katia Tarasava, Seung Hwan Lee, Jing Chen, Michael Köpke, Michael C. Jewett, Ramon Gonzalez*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Microbial production of fuels, chemicals, and materials has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to a sustainable bioeconomy. While synthetic biology allows readjusting of native metabolic pathways for the synthesis of desired products, often these native pathways do not support maximum efficiency and are affected by complex regulatory mechanisms. A synthetic or engineered pathway that allows modular synthesis of versatile bioproducts with minimal enzyme requirement and regulation while achieving high carbon and energy efficiency could be an alternative solution to address these issues. The reverse β-oxidation (rBOX) pathways enable iterative non-decarboxylative elongation of carbon molecules of varying chain lengths and functional groups with only four core enzymes and no ATP requirement. Here, we describe recent developments in rBOX pathway engineering to produce alcohols and carboxylic acids with diverse functional groups, along with other commercially important molecules such as polyketides. We discuss the application of rBOX beyond the pathway itself by its interfacing with various carbon-utilization pathways and deployment in different organisms, which allows feedstock diversification from sugars to glycerol, carbon dioxide, methane, and other substrates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberkuac003
JournalJournal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022


  • Metabolic engineering
  • Reverse β-oxidation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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