Optimizing pentose utilization in yeast: the need for novel tools and approaches
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Hexose and pentose cofermentation is regarded as one of the chief obstacles impeding economical conversion of lignocellulosic biomass to biofuels. Over time, successful application of traditional metabolic engineering strategy has produced yeast strains capable of utilizing the pentose sugars (especially xylose and arabinose) as sole carbon sources, yet major difficulties still remain for engineering simultaneous, exogenous sugar metabolism. Beyond catabolic pathways, the focus must shift towards non-traditional aspects of cellular engineering such as host molecular transport capability, catabolite sensing and stress response mechanisms. This review highlights the need for an approach termed 'panmetabolic engineering', a new paradigm for integrating new carbon sources into host metabolic pathways. This approach will concurrently optimize the interdependent processes of transport and metabolism using novel combinatorial techniques and global cellular engineering. As a result, panmetabolic engineering is a whole pathway approach emphasizing better pathways, reduced glucose-induced repression and increased product tolerance. In this paper, recent publications are reviewed in light of this approach and their potential to expand metabolic engineering tools. Collectively, traditional approaches and panmetabolic engineering enable the reprogramming of extant biological complexity and incorporation of exogenous carbon catabolism.
All authors are with the Department of Chemical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station, C0400, Austin, Texas 78712, USA -- Sun-Mi Lee is with the Water Environment Center, Korea Institute of Science and Technology, 39-1 Hawolgok-dong, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul 136-791, Korea