Engineered Fluorine Metabolism and Fluoropolymer Production in Living Cells

Benjamin W. Thuronyi, Thomas M. Privalsky, Michelle C.Y. Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Fluorine has become an important element for the design of synthetic molecules for use in medicine, agriculture, and materials. Despite the many advantages provided by fluorine for tuning key molecular properties, it is rarely found in natural metabolism. We seek to expand the molecular space available for discovery through the development of new biosynthetic strategies that cross synthetic with natural compounds. Towards this goal, we engineered a microbial host for organofluorine metabolism and show that we can achieve the production of the fluorinated diketide 2-fluoro-3-hydroxybutyrate at approximately 50 % yield. This fluorinated diketide can be used as a monomer in vivo to produce fluorinated poly(hydroxyalkanoate) (PHA) bioplastics with fluorine substitutions ranging from around 5–15 %. This system provides a platform to produce mm flux through the key fluoromalonyl coenzyme A (CoA) building block, thereby offering the potential to generate a broad range of fluorinated small-molecule targets in living cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13637-13640
Number of pages4
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number44
StatePublished - Oct 23 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry


  • biocatalysis
  • biosynthesis
  • fluorine
  • organofluorine compounds
  • polymers


Dive into the research topics of 'Engineered Fluorine Metabolism and Fluoropolymer Production in Living Cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this