As a side project, we decided to characterize a previous team’s work on an existing biobrick. For that purpose, we chose to characterize the University of Washington’s Petrobrick. The Petrobrick, once transformed into E. coli, acts as a microbial alkane production pathway. Two enzymes are co-transformed to create this biobrick: Acyl-ACP Reductase (AAR - Bba_K90032) and Aldehyde De-Carbonylase (ADC - Bba_K90031).
AAR reduces cellular fatty acyl-ACP from bacterial fatty acid via into fatty aldehydes. ADC then removes the carbonyl group on the fatty aldehyde, resulting in an odd number alkane chain one carbon shorter than the original Acyl-ACP fatty acid. In turn, both of the enzymes convert fatty acids into an odd number alkane by means of a constitutive protein expression plasmid.
Click here to read our submission on the Parts Registry experience page for the characterization of the Petrobrick.