Metabolic and genetic engineering of cyanobacteria for enhanced H2 production

There is an urgent need to develop sustainable solutions to convert solar energy into energy carriers used in the society. In addition to solar cells generating electricity, there are several options to generate solar fuels with molecular hydrogen (H2) being an interesting and promising option. Native and engineered cyanobacteria are being used as model systems to examine, develop and demonstrate photobiological hydrogen production. 

We are exploring cyanobacterial hydrogenases, how they function and are regulated. Moreover, we are addressing metabolic modulations and genetic engineering approches for enhanced H2 production. At present we focus on the introduction of custom-designed, non-native enzymes and complexes for enhanced hydrogen production in cyanobacteria. In addition, we specifically analyze electron transfer in the small subunit of a cyanobacterial hydrogenase.

Selected references

  • Khetkorn et al (2017) Microalgal hydrogen production – A review. Bioresource Technology 243: 1194-1206. (doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2017.07.085). 
  • Khanna et al (2017) In vivo activation of a [FeFe] hydrogenase using synthetic cofactors. Energy & Environmental Science 10: 1563-1567. (doi: 10.1039/C7EE00135E)
  • Raleiras et al (2016) Turned electron flow in an uptake hydrogenase. EPR spectroscopy and in vivo activities of a designed mutation in HupSL from Nostoc punctiforme. Energy & Environmental Science 9: 581-594. (doi: 10.1039/C5EE02694F)
  • Nyberg, Heidorn, Lindblad (2015) Hydrogen production by the engineered cyanobacterial strain Nostoc PCC 7120 ΔhupW examined in a flat panel photobioreactor system. Journal of Biotechnology 215: 35-43. (doi: 10.1016/j.jbiotec.2015.08.028
  • Khanna, Lindblad (2015) Cyanobacterial Hydrogenases and Hydrogen Metabolism Revisited: Recent Progress and Future Prospects. Int J Mol Sci 16 (5): 10537-10561 (doi: 10.3390/ijms160510537).
  • Lindblad, Khanna (2015) Engineering of cyanobacteria for increased hydrogen production. In: Biohydrogen. Ed: Rögner. Chapter 8, pages 175-190. Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston. ISBN 978-3-11-033645-0
  • Raleiras et al (2013) Isolation and characterisation of the small subunit of the uptake hydrogenase from the cyanobacterium Nostoc punctiforme. J Biol Chem 288:18345-52 (doi:10.1074/jbc.M113.468587).