A marine photosynthetic microbial cell factory as a platform for spider silk production
Photosynthetic microorganisms such as cyanobacteria, purple bacteria and microalgae have attracted great interest as promising platforms for economical and sustainable production of bioenergy, biochemicals, and biopolymers. Here, we demonstrate heterotrophic production of spider dragline silk proteins, major ampullate spidroins (MaSp), in a marine photosynthetic purple bacterium, Rhodovulum sulfidophilum , under both photoheterotrophic and photoautotrophic growth conditions. Spider silk is a biodegradable and biocompatible material with remarkable mechanical properties. R. sulfidophilum grow by utilizing abundant and renewable nonfood bioresources such as seawater, sunlight, and gaseous CO2 and N2, thus making this photosynthetic microbial cell factory a promising green and sustainable production platform for proteins and biopolymers, including spider silks.