[2019 Fall Life Sciences & IBB Seminar]
▶Subject: Transport Engineering in Synthetic Biology and Ag-Biotech
▶Speaker: Prof. Hussam H. Nour-Eldin (University of Copenhagen)
▶Date: 4:30PM/Oct. 18(Fri.)/2019
▶Place: Auditorium(1F), Postech Biotech Center
The main aim of our research is to improve biological production by controlling transport of small compounds across membranes.
With emphasis on specialized metabolites, our work focuses on developing tools to exploit the potential of transporters in a wide range of biotechnological contexts. Our main contribution to the field includes developing novel and powerful methods to identify transporters for target compounds and to reveal the function of important transporters for which no function is known.
In the seminar, I will present our technological advances via progress in three recent projects.
In the first, we aim to remove the taste of mustard from mustard seeds.
Here, we ask a simple question: Can transport engineering be used to eliminate toxic defense compounds –specifically-from edible tissues without compromising plant fitness? To this end, we identified the first glucosinolatetransporters in Arabidopsis via brute-force functional-genomics transporter-screening in Xenopusoocytes and demonstrated complete elimination of glucosinolatesfrom seeds by mutating two transporters. We are in the process of translating this loss-of-function phenotype to Brassica juncea(mustard) where we have to overcome the challenge of polyploidy.
In the second, we aim to boost production of phlorizinin yeast. In synthetic biology approaches, uptake of substrates, reimport of exuded intermediates and export of final products constitute inherent limitations on final yield. Although Arabidopsis does not produce phlorizin, we succeeded in identifying two transporters capable of exporting phlorizinby screening 553 Arabidopsis genes for transport activity. I will present the effect of introducing these transporters into a phlorizinproducing yeast strain and how we have used the Arabidopsis transporters to identify the first bona fide phlorizintransporters from Apple.
Lastly, if time permits I will present very recent progress in developing a powerful approach for untargeted assignment of substrates to known-as well as unknown transporters.