Applications of Mass Spectrometry in Synthetic Biology
The field of synthetic biology aims to make use of the principles of engineering to understand and re-design biological systems, originating cells/organisms with predictable and novel functions to produce a wide range of chemicals such as fuels, drugs, agrochemicals and polymers. However, advances in the construction of biosynthetic pathways are hampered by bottlenecks such as deficient expression of proteins introduced by the new route, accumulation of toxic intermediates and activation of cell stress responses due to the disturbance caused by the new product. Mass spectrometry helps to elucidate the limitations in synthetic biology. This chapter will present some examples of studies in which mass spectrometry has played a major role, helping synthetic biologists to discover and identify limitations, leading to the optimization of synthetic pathways.