Central metabolic nodes for diverse biochemical productionby Cordova LT, Alper HS
Central carbon metabolism is conserved among all organisms for cellular function and energy generation. The connectivity of this metabolic map gives rises to key metabolite nodes. Five of these nodes in particular, pyruvate, citric acid, tyrosine and aspartate, acetyl-CoA, serve as critical starting points for the generation of a broad class of relevant chemical molecules with ranging applications from fuels, pharmaceuticals and polymer precursors. This review highlights recent progress in converting these metabolite nodes into valuable products. In particular, acetyl-CoA, the most well-connected node, serves as the building block for several classes of molecules including fatty acids and terpenes. Systematic metabolic engineering efforts focused on these metabolic building blocks has enabled the production of industrially-relevant, biobased compounds.