Identification of novel membrane proteins for improved lignocellulose conversion


Lignocellulose processing yields a heterogeneous mixture of substances, which are poorly utilized by current industrial strains. For efficient valorization of recalcitrant biomass, it is critical to identify and engineer new membrane proteins that enable the broad uptake of hydrolyzed substrates. Whereas glucose consumption rarely presents a bottleneck for cell factories, there is also a lack of transporters that allow co-consumption of glucose with other abundant biomass sugars such as xylose. This review discusses recent efforts to bioinformatically identify membrane proteins of high biotech potential for lignocellulose conversion and metabolic engineering in both model and nonconventional organisms. Of particular interest are transporters sourced from anaerobic gut fungi resident to large herbivores, which produce Sugars Will Eventually be Exported Transporters (SWEETs) that enhance xylose transport in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiaeand enable glucose and xylose co-utilization. Additionally, recently identified fungal cellodextrin transporters are valuable alternatives to mitigate glucose repression and transporter inhibition.

ICB Affiliated Authors

Igor A. Podolsky, Elizabeth E. Schauer, Susanna Seppälä, Michelle A. O’Malley
Peer-Reviewed Article
Current Opinion in Biotechnology