Victor de Lorenzo

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National Center of Biotechnology CSIC
de Lorenzo, Victor

Victor de Lorenzo is a Spanish Chemist and Microbiologist. He works at the National Centre of Biotechnology (CNB-CSIC) in Madrid, where he is employed since 1996 after successive postdocs at the University of California (Berkeley), the University of Geneva and the Federal Center of Biotechnology (Braunschweig).

His research exploits advanced molecular biology and genetic engineering of microorganisms for the sake of biomonitoring, bioremediation – and wherever possible, valorization of chemical pollution in the Environment. He is a member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO), the American Academy of Microbiology (AAM) and the European Academy of Microbiology (EAM).

One of his longstanding interests is the development of standardized molecular tools for deep genetic and genomic refactoring of Gram-negative microorganisms, in particular Pseudomonas putida. He is currently trying to develop an all-prokaryotic artificial immune system based on parts and devices mined from environmental bacteria.

ABSTRACT: Syn Bio standards for engineering complex phenotypes in environmental bacteria

The prokaryotic world is the largest reservoir of enzymatic activities in the Biosphere, but the vast majority of this treasure trove has not yet been exploited. To overcome this state of affairs new conceptual and material tools, as well as understanding of a large number of fundamental biological processes (e. g. metabolism) are required. Key aspects include optimization of a limited number of genomic and biochemical chasses compatible with environmental applications, standardization of methods of physical assembly of DNA constructs, development of genetic tools for deployment and stable maintenance of the implanted traits and adjustment of the engineered property to the genetic and biochemical background of the host. In this context, we have developed a large number of molecular tools for designing strains of the soil bacterium Pseudomonas putida aimed at biosensing and / or biodegradation of recalcitrant chemicals that are environmental pollutants. This multi-tiered effort involves [i] editing and streamlining of the existing genome for deletion of non-desirable segments (eg prophages) and enhancement of beneficial functions (eg stress tolerance), [ii] adoption of the so called Standard European Vector Architecture (SEVA) format for analysis, construction and deployment of genetic constructs in Gram-negative bacteria other than E. coli and [iii] development of fusion partners for targeting expression of given proteins to various cell compartments. The value of such standards (as well as their shortcomings) will be exemplified in our efforts to biodegrade anaerobically the environmental pollutants 1,3-dichloroprop-1-ene with a heavily engineered P. putida strain.