429390 Novel Gut Fungal Sugar Transporters for Improved Bioprocess Efficiency

Thursday, November 12, 2015: 12:50 PM
150D/E (Salt Palace Convention Center)
Kevin V. Solomon, John Henske, Sean P. Gilmore, Susanna Seppala and Michelle A. O'Malley, Chemical Engineering, University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA

Lignocellulosic materials are one of the most abundant feedstocks for the economical production of biofuels and other value-added chemicals. Many sugars derived from such sources, however, remain unused due to poor substrate uptake. For instance, Saccharomyces lacks xylose-specific transporters, severely limiting its ability to effectively use these pentose sugars in engineered production pathways. In contrast, anaerobic fungi from the guts of large herbivores are able to digest a wide array of lignocellulosic feedstocks and thrive on the resulting sugars. Here, we pursued a systems-level strategy integrating transcriptomics and phenotype to mine this diverse phylum for novel sugar transporters for improved bioprocessing. A panel of gut fungi isolated from a horse, sheep, and goat, representing three distinct genera, were examined with RNAseq to generate de novo transcriptomes containing hundreds of putative sugar transporters. These transporters were classified on the basis of homology into families and a putative substrate was assigned. These predictions were subsequently validated through phenotypic growth studies and sugar utilization assays to reveal dozens of novel sugar transporter candidates for biotechnology. In this talk, I expand on this workflow for general transcriptome mining and discuss some of the more promising candidates.

Extended Abstract: File Not Uploaded