Background: Photosynthetic cyanobacteria are attractive for a range of biotechnological applications including biofuel production. However, due to slow growth, screening of mutant libraries using microtiter plates is not feasible.Results: We present a method for high-throughput, single-cell analysis and sorting of genetically engineered l-lactate-producing strains of Synechocystis sp. PCC6803. A microfluidic device is used to encapsulate single cells in picoliter droplets, assay the droplets for L-lactate production, and sort strains with high productivity. We demonstrate the separation of low- and high-producing reference strains, as well as enrichment of a more productive L-lactate-synthesizing population after UV-induced mutagenesis. The droplet platform also revealed population heterogeneity in photosynthetic growth and lactate production, as well as the presence of metabolically stalled cells.Conclusions: The workflow will facilitate metabolic engineering and directed evolution studies and will be useful in studies of cyanobacteria biochemistry and physiology.
Bibliographical note© 2015 Hammar et al. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
- Single cell
- Droplet microfluidics
- High-throughput screening
- Lactate dehydrogenase