A hybrid in silico/in-cell controller for microbial bioprocesses with process-model mismatch

Tomoki Ohkubo, Yuki Soma, Yuichi Sakumura, Taizo Hanai, Katsuyuki Kunida

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Bioprocess optimization using mathematical models is prevalent, yet the discrepancy between model predictions and actual processes, known as process-model mismatch (PMM), remains a significant challenge. This study proposes a novel hybrid control system called the hybrid in silico/in-cell controller (HISICC) to address PMM by combining model-based optimization (in silico feedforward controller) with feedback controllers utilizing synthetic genetic circuits integrated into cells (in-cell feedback controller). We demonstrated the efficacy of HISICC using two engineered Escherichia coli strains, TA1415 and TA2445, previously developed for isopropanol (IPA) production. TA1415 contains a metabolic toggle switch (MTS) to manage the competition between cell growth and IPA production for intracellular acetyl-CoA by responding to external input of isopropyl β-d-1-thiogalactopyranoside (IPTG). TA2445, in addition to the MTS, has a genetic circuit that detects cell density to autonomously activate MTS. The combination of TA2445 with an in silico controller exemplifies HISICC implementation. We constructed mathematical models to optimize IPTG input values for both strains based on the two-compartment model and validated these models using experimental data of the IPA production process. Using these models, we evaluated the robustness of HISICC against PMM by comparing IPA yields with two strains in simulations assuming various magnitudes of PMM in cell growth rates. The results indicate that the in-cell feedback controller in TA2445 effectively compensates for PMM by modifying MTS activation timing. In conclusion, the HISICC system presents a promising solution to the PMM problem in bioprocess engineering, paving the way for more efficient and reliable optimization of microbial bioprocesses.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13608
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12-2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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