Enzyme-catalyzed mono- and oligosaccharide production is a prime example of the potential of multi-enzyme reaction systems,
where the regio- and reaction selectivity of these biocatalysts allows the implementation of complex reaction cascades in one vessel
where alternative approaches would need lengthy multi-vessel reaction sequences and protection group chemistry. However, this introduces
as a new challenge the question of how such multi-enzyme systems can efficiently be assembled in the face of increasing system
complexity, which is increasingly addressed by setting up pathways to saccharide production in perforated or intact cells. Put differently,
the assembly of such pathways becomes more and more a biosystems engineering activity which needs to take into consideration the
need to fine-tune system composition and interactions with the cellular background. This is precisely the domain of synthetic biology,
which can be classified as a biosystems engineering activity developing around our increasing capacity to assemble large sets of genes de
novo. Here, we argue that biocatalyst construction in saccharide synthesis can broadly benefit from the tools that are being developed in
the domain of synthetic biology.
Keywords: Metabolic engineering, mono- and oligosaccharide production, synthetic biology, whole cell systems.
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