3,195 results match your criteria Current Opinion in Biotechnology [Journal]


Harnessing xylose pathways for biofuels production.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Feb 18;57:56-65. Epub 2019 Feb 18.

Department of Biology and Biological Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden; Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden; Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability, Technical University of Denmark, Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark; Wallenberg Center for Protein Research, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden. Electronic address:

Energy security, environmental pollution, and economic development drive the development of alternatives to fossil fuels as an urgent global priority. Lignocellulosic biomass has the potential to contribute to meeting the demand for biofuel production via hydrolysis and fermentation of released sugars, such as glucose, xylose, and arabinose. Construction of robust cell factories requires introducing and rewiring of their metabolism to efficiently use all these sugars. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.01.006DOI Listing
February 2019

Metabolic engineering and synthetic biology employing Lactococcus lactis and Bacillus subtilis cell factories.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Feb 18;59:1-7. Epub 2019 Feb 18.

Department of Molecular Genetics, Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute, University of Groningen, Nijenborgh 7, Groningen 9747AG, The Netherlands. Electronic address:

Metabolic engineering and synthetic biology approaches have prospered the field of biotechnology, in which the main focus has been on Escherichia coli and Saccharomyces cerevisiae as microbial workhorses. In more recent years, improving the Gram-positive bacteria Lactococcus lactis and Bacillus subtilis as production hosts has gained increasing attention. This review will demonstrate the different levels at which these bacteria can be engineered and their various application possibilities. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.01.007DOI Listing
February 2019

Ion channel engineering for modulation and de novo generation of electrical excitability.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Feb 15;58:100-107. Epub 2019 Feb 15.

Department of Biomedical Engineering, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, USA. Electronic address:

Ion channels play essential roles in regulating electrical properties of excitable tissues. By leveraging various ion channel gating mechanisms, scientists have developed a versatile set of genetically encoded tools to modulate intrinsic tissue excitability under different experimental settings. In this article, we will review how ion channels activated by voltage, light, small chemicals, stretch, and temperature have been customized to enable control of tissue excitability both in vitro and in vivo. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.01.004DOI Listing
February 2019

Therapeutic approaches to treat human spliceosomal diseases.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Feb 14;60:72-81. Epub 2019 Feb 14.

Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, United States.

Mutated RNA splicing machinery drives many human diseases and is a promising therapeutic target for engineering and small molecule therapy. In the case of mutations in individual genes that cause them to be incorrectly spliced, engineered splicing factors can be introduced to correct splicing of these aberrant transcripts and reduce the effects of the disease phenotype. Mutations that occur in certain splicing factor genes themselves have been implicated in many cancers, particularly myelodysplastic syndromes. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.01.003DOI Listing
February 2019

Alternative coenzymes for biocatalysis.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Jan 31;60:63-71. Epub 2019 Jan 31.

Department of Biotechnology, Delft University of Technology, Van der Maasweg 9, 2629 HZ Delft, The Netherlands. Electronic address:

Coenzymes are ubiquitous in Nature, assisting in enzyme-catalysed reactions. Several coenzymes, nicotinamides and flavins, have been known for close to a century, whereas variations of those organic molecules have more recently come to light. In general, the requirement of these coenzymes imposes certain constraints for in vitro enzyme use in biocatalytic processes. Read More

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https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S09581669183019
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.01.001DOI Listing
January 2019
2 Reads
7.117 Impact Factor

Enzymatic reactions in polymeric compartments: nanotechnology meets nature.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Jan 29;60:53-62. Epub 2019 Jan 29.

Department of Chemistry, University of Basel, Mattenstrasse 24a, 4058, Basel, Switzerland. Electronic address:

One of the main features of living matter is compartmentalization, that is the temporal and spatial division of biological reactions and containment of the cellular components. Nanotechnology aims to replicate this, separating tiny environments from the exterior into nano-sized and micro-sized self-assembled compartments. Those synthetic compartments can perform reactions, be tracked and act in vivo. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2018.12.011DOI Listing
January 2019
1 Read

New directions in biological nitrogen removal and recovery from wastewater.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Jan 29;57:50-55. Epub 2019 Jan 29.

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Washington, 201 More Hall, Box 352700, Seattle, WA 98195-2700, USA.

This review summarizes strategies for biological nitrogen removal (BNR) and recovery from wastewater. The most commonly used BNR technology nitrification/denitrification is also the most energy intensive, even though there are lower energy options, including nitritation/denitritation and more efficient partial nitritation/Anammox; the latter is well demonstrated for side-stream treatment and progressing toward mainstream applications. Nitrogen recovery can be done through cell assimilation with phototrophs, but bottlenecks with solids separation and space requirements limit applications to tertiary treatment. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2018.12.007DOI Listing
January 2019

The utility of flow cytometry for potable reuse.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Jan 23;57:42-49. Epub 2019 Jan 23.

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA. Electronic address:

Protecting public health from pathogens is critical when treating wastewater to drinking water standards (i.e., planned water reuse). Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2018.12.009DOI Listing
January 2019
1 Read

Structural features and regulation of lignin deposited upon biotic and abiotic stresses.

Authors:
Igor Cesarino

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Jan 23;56:209-214. Epub 2019 Jan 23.

Departamento de Botânica, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade de São Paulo, Rua do Matão 277, São Paulo, 05590-020, Brazil. Electronic address:

Lignin is not only important for plant growth and development but is also a major player in the response of plants to various biotic and abiotic stresses. Although the link between lignin and stresses has been widely demonstrated, the chemical nature and especially the molecular mechanisms underlying the biosynthesis of stress lignin remain largely unknown. Recent findings suggest that the structure of the polymer produced de novo seems to largely depend on the type and intensity of the stress and on the plant species. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2018.12.012DOI Listing
January 2019
1 Read

The unexpected habitat in sewer pipes for the propagation of microbial communities and their imprint on urban waters.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Jan 22;57:34-41. Epub 2019 Jan 22.

School of Freshwater Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI 53204, USA.

Modern urban sewer pipe infrastructure is a unique niche where microbes can thrive. Arcobacter, Acinetobacter, Aeromonas, and Trichococcus are among the organisms that dominate the microbial community of sewage influent, but are not major members of human fecal microbiome, drinking water, or groundwater. Pipe resident communities in untreated sewage are distinct from sewer biofilm communities. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2018.12.010DOI Listing
January 2019

Linking phenylpropanoid metabolism, lignin deposition, and plant growth inhibition.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Jan 21;56:202-208. Epub 2019 Jan 21.

Department of Biochemistry and the Purdue Center for Plant Biology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, United States. Electronic address:

Lignin, a polymer found in the plant secondary cell wall, is a major contributor to biomass' recalcitrance toward saccharification. Because of this negative impact toward the value of lignocellulosic crops, there is a special interest in modifying the content and composition of this important plant biopolymer. For many years this endeavor has been hindered by the plant growth inhibition that is often associated with manipulations to phenylpropanoid metabolism. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2018.12.008DOI Listing
January 2019

Reductive catalytic fractionation: state of the art of the lignin-first biorefinery.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Jan 6;56:193-201. Epub 2019 Jan 6.

Center for Surface Chemistry and Catalysis, KU Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200F, 3001 Leuven, Belgium. Electronic address:

Reductive catalytic fractionation (RCF) of lignocellulose is an emerging biorefinery scheme that combines biomass fractionation with lignin depolymerisation. Central to this scheme is the integration of heterogeneous catalysis, which overcomes the tendency of lignin to repolymerise. Ultimately, this leads to a low-M lignin oil comprising a handful of lignin-derived monophenolics in close-to-theoretical yield, as well as a carbohydrate pulp. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2018.12.005DOI Listing
January 2019

Editorial overview: Current advances in analytical biotechnology: from single molecules to whole organisms.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Feb 7;55:iii-vi. Epub 2019 Jan 7.

Laboratory of Microtechnologies, Institute of Biotechnology, Life Sciences Center, Vilnius University, Saulėtekio av. 7, Vilnius LT-10257, Lithuania. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2018.12.006DOI Listing
February 2019
4 Reads

Protein engineers turned evolutionists-the quest for the optimal starting point.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Jan 2;60:46-52. Epub 2019 Jan 2.

Department of Biomolecular Sciences, Weizmann Institute of Science, 234 Herzl Street, Rehovot 7610001, Israel. Electronic address:

The advent of laboratory directed evolution yielded a fruitful crosstalk between the disciplines of molecular evolution and bio-engineering. Here, we outline recent developments in both disciplines with respect to how one can identify the best starting points for directed evolution, such that highly efficient and robust tailor-made enzymes can be obtained with minimal optimization. Directed evolution studies have highlighted essential features of engineer-able enzymes: highly stable, mutationally robust enzymes with the capacity to accept a broad range of substrates. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2018.12.002DOI Listing
January 2019
1 Read

Gene therapy for blood diseases.

Authors:
Donald B Kohn

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2018 Dec 29;60:39-45. Epub 2018 Dec 29.

Department of Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics, University of California, Los Angeles, David Geffen School of Medicine, USA; Department of Pediatrics, University of California, Los Angeles, David Geffen School of Medicine, USA; Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, University of California, Los Angeles, David Geffen School of Medicine, USA. Electronic address:

Genetic diseases affecting proteins and cells composing the blood may be treated by gene therapy using gene addition or gene editing methods. Protein deficiencies (e.g. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2018.11.016DOI Listing
December 2018
1 Read

Cell-free microcompartmentalised transcription-translation for the prototyping of synthetic communication networks.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2018 Dec 26;58:72-80. Epub 2018 Dec 26.

Laboratory of Chemical Biology, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Eindhoven University of Technology, 5600 MB Eindhoven, The Netherlands; Institute for Complex Molecular Systems, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Eindhoven University of Technology, 5600 MB Eindhoven, The Netherlands; Computational Biology Group, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Eindhoven University of Technology, 5600 MB Eindhoven, The Netherlands; Institute for Molecules and Materials, Radboud University, Heyendaalseweg 135, 6525 AJ Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Electronic address:

Recent efforts in synthetic biology have shown the possibility of engineering distributed functions in populations of living cells, which requires the development of highly orthogonal, genetically encoded communication pathways. Cell-free transcription-translation (TXTL) reactions encapsulated in microcompartments enable prototyping of molecular communication channels and their integration into engineered genetic circuits by mimicking critical cell features, such as gene expression, cell size, and cell individuality within a community. In this review, we discuss the uses of cell-free transcription-translation reactions for the development of synthetic genetic circuits, with a special focus on the use of microcompartments supporting this reaction. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2018.10.006DOI Listing
December 2018
1 Read

Directed evolution of carbon-hydrogen bond activating enzymes.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2018 Dec 21;60:29-38. Epub 2018 Dec 21.

Institute of Chemistry and Biotechnology, Department of Life Sciences and Facility Management, Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Einsiedlerstrasse 31, 8820 Waedenswil, Switzerland. Electronic address:

As industrial biocatalysis is maturing, access to enzymatic activities beyond chiral resolutions, asymmetric ketone reductions and reductive aminations is gradually becoming reality. Especially the utilization of carbon-hydrogen bond (C-H) activating enzymes is very attractive as they catalyze a variety of chemically extremely challenging transformations. Because of their intrinsic complexity, the use of these enzymes in manufacturing has been limited. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2018.12.004DOI Listing
December 2018
2 Reads

Flux modeling for monolignol biosynthesis.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2018 Dec 14;56:187-192. Epub 2018 Dec 14.

State Key Laboratory of Tree Genetics and Breeding, Northeast Forestry University, Harbin 150040, China; Forest Biotechnology Group, Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, United States. Electronic address:

The pathway of monolignol biosynthesis involves many components interacting in a metabolic grid to regulate the supply and ratios of monolignols for lignification. The complexity of the pathway challenges any intuitive prediction of the output without mathematical modeling. Several models have been presented to quantify the metabolic flux for monolignol biosynthesis and the regulation of lignin content, composition, and structure in plant cell walls. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2018.12.003DOI Listing
December 2018
2 Reads
7.117 Impact Factor

Non canonical genetic material.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2018 Dec 13;57:25-33. Epub 2018 Dec 13.

KU Leuven, Rega Institute for Medical Research, Medicinal Chemistry, Herestraat 49, 3000 Leuven, Belgium. Electronic address:

To increase the scope of natural biosystem, nucleic acids have been intensively modified. One direction includes the development of a synthetic alternative to the native DNA and RNA, denoted Xenobiotic nucleic acids (XNAs) that are able to store and transfer genetic information either by base-modification or backbone-modification. Another line of research aims to develop alternative third base pair additional to natural A:T and G:C. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2018.12.001DOI Listing
December 2018
3 Reads

Customized protein glycosylation to improve biopharmaceutical function and targeting.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2018 Dec 13;60:17-28. Epub 2018 Dec 13.

VIB-UGent Center for Medical Biotechnology, Belgium; Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, Ghent University, Technologiepark 927, B-9052 Gent, Belgium. Electronic address:

For a long time, glycoprotein production has been limited by the inherent properties of production hosts. Glycosylation of biopharmaceuticals has been regarded as a necessary evil, often needed for protein folding or function, but also a source of heterogeneity, complicating downstream processing and product characterization. This has strongly determined the choice of production hosts. Read More

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https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S09581669183021
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2018.11.017DOI Listing
December 2018
8 Reads

Recent advances in engineering Corynebacterium glutamicum for utilization of hemicellulosic biomass.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2018 Dec 8;57:17-24. Epub 2018 Dec 8.

Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (BK Plus program), KAIST, 291 Daehak-ro, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon 34141, Republic of Korea; Institute for the BioCentury, KAIST, 291 Daehak-ro, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon 34141, Republic of Korea. Electronic address:

Corynebacterium glutamicum has been mainly used for industrial production of amino acids, and in recent years, it has also been successfully engineered to broaden its range of substrate and product profiles. In particular, C. glutamicum has been engineered to use non-natural sugar substrates (mainly pentoses) derived from hemicellulosic feedstock, which is the second abundant component of lignocellulosic biomass. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2018.11.004DOI Listing
December 2018
9 Reads

Advances in microbial lignin degradation and its applications.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2018 Dec 11;56:179-186. Epub 2018 Dec 11.

Graduate School of Bio-Applications and Systems Engineering, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, Koganei, Tokyo 184-8588, Japan. Electronic address:

Lignocellulosic biomass represents a crucial resource for achieving sustainable development by replacing petroleum-based production systems. Lignin, a major component of plant cell walls, has significant potential as a bioresource; however, it is an obstacle in lignocellulosic biomass utilization due to its recalcitrance. Consequently, decomposition or removal of lignin is a crucial step to utilize cell wall components. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2018.11.011DOI Listing
December 2018
1 Read

Multi-omics and potential applications in wine production.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2018 Dec 7;56:172-178. Epub 2018 Dec 7.

Section for Evolutionary Genomics, Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark; Norwegian University of Science and Technology, University Museum, Trondheim, Norway. Electronic address:

The wine microbiome - that is the microbial communities associated with the fermentation of must, is one of the most important factors in transforming grapes to wine, including flavour and aroma. Recent developments in high throughput sequencing and other 'omics methodologies are rapidly changing the level and complexity of information that we are able to extract from the wine microbiome. This will significantly enhance not only our understanding of which microbes are present at the various stages of the grapevine growth and winemaking process, but also improve our understanding of the complex interactions between microbes, the substrate and environment, ultimately shaping wine production. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2018.11.014DOI Listing
December 2018
6 Reads

Harnessing CRISPR-Cas systems for precision engineering of designer probiotic lactobacilli.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2018 Dec 6;56:163-171. Epub 2018 Dec 6.

Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences, North Carolina State University, Box 7624, Raleigh, NC 27695, United States. Electronic address:

Our evolving understanding on the mechanisms underlying the health-promoting attributes of probiotic lactobacilli, together with an expanding genome editing toolbox have made this genus an ideal chassis for the development of living therapeutics. The rising adoption of CRISPR-based technologies for prokaryotic engineering has demonstrated precise, efficient and scalable genome editing and tunable transcriptional regulation that can be translated into next-generation development of probiotic lactobacilli with enhanced robustness and designer functionalities. Here, we discuss how these tools in conjunction with the naturally abundant and diverse native CRISPR-Cas systems can be harnessed for Lactobacillus cell surface engineering and the delivery of biotherapeutics. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2018.11.009DOI Listing
December 2018
4 Reads

Bioactivity: phenylpropanoids' best kept secret.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2018 Dec 11;56:156-162. Epub 2018 Dec 11.

Ghent University, Department of Plant Biotechnology and Bioinformatics, Technologiepark 927, B-9052 Gent, Belgium; VIB Center for Plant Systems Biology, Technologiepark 927, B-9052 Gent, Belgium.

Plant growth and development are tightly regulated by compounds produced in trace amounts in the plant. Besides the classical phytohormones, many plant metabolites have been described to affect plant development. Among these are several phenylpropanoids, although conclusive evidence for their bioactivity at physiologically relevant concentrations is only available for cinnamic acid. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2018.11.012DOI Listing
December 2018
1 Read

Interactions between polyoxometalates and biological systems: from drug design to artificial enzymes.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2018 Dec 6;58:92-99. Epub 2018 Dec 6.

Department of Chemistry, KU Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200F, 3001, Leuven, Belgium. Electronic address:

Polyoxometalates have long been studied in a variety of biological applications. Interactions between the highly charged POM molecules and biological molecules frequently occur through hydrogen-bonding and electrostatic interactions. Tellurium-centred Anderson-Evans POMs show exceptional promise as crystallization agents, while acidic and metal-substituted POMs may provide interesting alternatives to enzymes in proteomics applications. Read More

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https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S09581669183016
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2018.11.013DOI Listing
December 2018
2 Reads

Platelet for drug delivery.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2018 Dec 5;58:81-91. Epub 2018 Dec 5.

Department of Bioengineering, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, United States; California NanoSystems Institute, Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Center for Minimally Invasive Therapeutics (C-MIT), University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, United States. Electronic address:

Platelets play a vital physiological role in hemostasis, inflammation and tissue regeneration, which are associated with wound healing as well as cancer development and metastasis. These years, a variety of platelet-mediated drug delivery approaches have been developed due to their unique properties, such as quick replenishment and site-specific activation/adhesion. In this Current Opinion, focuses are put on strategies leveraging the physiological functions of platelets for the design of drug delivery systems, including platelet engineering, platelet hitchhiking, membrane coating, synthetic platelet fabrication and platelet-triggered drug release for different applications. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2018.11.010DOI Listing
December 2018
1 Read

Tailor-made trees: engineering lignin for ease of processing and tomorrow's bioeconomy.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2018 Dec 4;56:147-155. Epub 2018 Dec 4.

Department of Wood Science, Faculty of Forestry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4, Canada. Electronic address:

Lignocellulosic biomass represents an abundant source of cellulosic fibres and fermentable sugars. However, lignin, a polyphenolic constituent of secondary-thickened plant cell walls significantly contributes to biomass recalcitrance during industrial processing. Efforts to reduce plant total lignin content through genetic engineering have improved processing efficiency, but often incur an agronomic penalty. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2018.10.014DOI Listing
December 2018
1 Read

Bioprotective mechanisms of lactic acid bacteria against fungal spoilage of food.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2018 Nov 29;56:138-146. Epub 2018 Nov 29.

Bacterial Physiology, Discovery, R&D, Chr. Hansen A/S, Bøge Allé 10-12, 2970 Hørsholm, Denmark.

In modern societies, conscious consumers demand healthy, fresh and natural foods devoid of added chemical preservatives and stabilizers. The use of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) to preserve food is one of the oldest and best characterized approach. Production of organic acids is the main feature LAB use to outcompete spoilage organisms, but several other mechanisms have been demonstrated. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2018.11.015DOI Listing
November 2018
11 Reads

High-throughput single-cell transcriptomics on organoids.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Feb 29;55:167-171. Epub 2018 Nov 29.

Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, 04103 Leipzig, Germany. Electronic address:

Three-dimensional (3D) tissues grown in culture from human stem cells offer the incredible opportunity to analyze and manipulate human development, and to generate patient-specific models of disease. Methods to sequence DNA and RNA in single cells are being used to analyze these so-called 'organoid' systems in high-resolution. Single-cell transcriptomics has been used to quantitate the similarity of organoid cells to primary tissue counterparts in the brain, intestine, liver, and kidney, as well as identify cell-specific responses to environmental variables and disease conditions. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2018.11.002DOI Listing
February 2019
1 Read

Coupling efficiency of secondary active transporters.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2018 Nov 28;58:62-71. Epub 2018 Nov 28.

Department of Biochemistry, University of Groningen, Nijenborgh 4, 9747 AG Groningen, The Netherlands. Electronic address:

Secondary active transporters are fundamental to a myriad of biological processes. They use the electrochemical gradient of one solute to drive transport of another solute against its concentration gradient. Central to this mechanism is that the transport of one does not occur in the absence of the other. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2018.11.005DOI Listing
November 2018
1 Read

RNA nanostructures and scaffolds for biotechnology applications.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2018 Nov 28;58:53-61. Epub 2018 Nov 28.

Center for iPS Cell Research and Application, Kyoto University, Kyoto City, Japan. Electronic address:

RNA plays important roles in the regulation of gene expressions and other cellular functions. It functions as both as an informational carrier and a nanomachine due to its complementary base-pairing ability and complexed three-dimensional structure. Several nanostructures have been designed and constructed by exploiting these natural RNA properties. Read More

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https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S09581669183017
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2018.11.006DOI Listing
November 2018
23 Reads

Engineering-driven biological insights into DNA polymerase mechanism.

Authors:
Vitor B Pinheiro

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2018 Nov 28;60:9-16. Epub 2018 Nov 28.

KU Leuven, Rega Institute for Medical Research, Herestraat 49, Box 1030, 3000 Leuven, Belgium; University College London, Department of Structural and Molecular Biology, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT, UK. Electronic address:

DNA-dependent DNA polymerases have been extensively studied for over 60 years and lie at the core of multiple biotechnological and diagnostic applications. Nevertheless, these complex molecular machines remain only partially understood. Here we present some evidence on how polymerase engineering for the synthesis and replication of xenobiotic nucleic acids (XNAs) have improved our understanding of these enzymes and how that can be used to gain further insight into their mechanism. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2018.11.008DOI Listing
November 2018
1 Read

Production of HMOs using microbial hosts - from cell engineering to large scale production.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2018 Nov 28;56:130-137. Epub 2018 Nov 28.

Glycom A/S, Kogle Allé 4, Hørsholm, DK-2970, Denmark. Electronic address:

Human Milk Oligosaccharides (HMOs) constitute an important, highly abundant part of mothers' milk delivering many health benefits to the neonate. Until recently, limited availability of HMOs has prevented their use in infant nutrition and impeded research into their biological effects. The shift from chemical synthesis to biotechnological manufacturing has made them accessible in quantities and at prices that are within reach for commercial applications, including infant formula. Read More

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https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S09581669183013
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2018.11.003DOI Listing
November 2018
6 Reads

The Casparian strip-one ring to bring cell biology to lignification?

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2018 Nov 23;56:121-129. Epub 2018 Nov 23.

Department of Plant Molecular Biology, University of Lausanne, Biophore Building, 1015, Lausanne Switzerland. Electronic address:

Lignin research has long been motivated by the outstanding importance of wood for human societies. The annual, non-woody Arabidopsis thaliana, has nevertheless contributed greatly to our understanding of lignification, due to its unrivalled genetic resources. Arabidopsis is also great for cell and developmental biology, allowing precise imaging and tracking of cell types. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2018.10.004DOI Listing
November 2018
1 Read

Coordination-assembled supramolecular nanoplatforms: structural modulation and theranostic applications.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2018 Nov 27;58:45-52. Epub 2018 Nov 27.

State Key Laboratory of Biochemical Engineering, Institute of Process Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100190, China; University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100049, China. Electronic address:

Theranostics possessing great potential in the treatment of various diseases gain attentions in recent years. Coordination-assembled supramolecular nanoplatforms are emerged as promising candidates for theranostic applications. With the facile, robust and versatile fabrication, these systems overcome the drawbacks of many existing theranostic nanoplatforms. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2018.11.007DOI Listing
November 2018
2 Reads

Granular hydrogels: emergent properties of jammed hydrogel microparticles and their applications in tissue repair and regeneration.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2018 Nov 24;60:1-8. Epub 2018 Nov 24.

Department of Biomedical Engineering, Duke University, United States; Department of Dermatology, Duke University, United States; Department of Neurology, Duke University, United States. Electronic address:

Granular hydrogels are emerging as a versatile and effective platform for tissue engineered constructs in regenerative medicine. The hydrogel microparticles (HMPs) that compose these materials exhibit particle jamming above a minimum packing fraction, which results in a bulk, yet dynamic, granular hydrogel scaffold. These injectable, microporous scaffolds possess self-assembling, shear-thinning, and self-healing properties. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2018.11.001DOI Listing
November 2018
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Reprogramming the brain with synthetic neurobiology.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2018 Nov 17;58:37-44. Epub 2018 Nov 17.

Center for Systems and Synthetic Biology, Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Department of Molecular Biosciences, University of Texas, 2500 Speedway, Austin, TX 78712, USA. Electronic address:

The mammalian brain is among the most complex organs known in biology. Historically, neuroscience techniques have consisted primarily of low-throughput microscopy and electrophysiological approaches. While these methods will continue to serve the community, the emerging field of synthetic neurobiology may be better equipped to scale with systems neuroscience. Read More

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https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S09581669183015
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2018.10.013DOI Listing
November 2018
22 Reads

Lignin-based polymers and nanomaterials.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2018 Nov 17;56:112-120. Epub 2018 Nov 17.

Department of Microbiology & Cell Science, IFAS, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610, USA; UF Genetics Institute, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610, USA; Florida Center for Renewable Chemicals and Fuels, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610, USA. Electronic address:

Approximately 50 million tons of lignin are currently produced annually as a by-product of the pulp- and paper industry, and this amount is likely to double in the future with the anticipated production of renewable fuels and chemicals from lignocellulosic biomass, as a sustainable alternative to petroleum. The latter process can be expedited by valorizing lignin, which entails making products from lignin that generate additional revenues for biorefineries so that the production of biofuels becomes more competitive with gasoline. Industrially produced lignin is considered a low-value material that is used as a boiler fuel to generate heat and electricity, and as an ingredient of adhesives, cement, and drilling fluids for underwater oil wells. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2018.10.009DOI Listing
November 2018
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In vitro expression of genetically encoded non-standard peptides consisting of exotic amino acid building blocks.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2018 Nov 16;58:28-36. Epub 2018 Nov 16.

Department of Chemistry, Graduate School of Science, The University of Tokyo, Bunkyo, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan. Electronic address:

Ribosomal incorporation of non-proteinogenic amino acids (NPaa) into peptides have made significant progress in recent years. These non-standard peptides have been utilized for a plethora of applications in the fields of chemical biology and therapeutics. Here we comprehensively review recent advances for the incorporation of exotic NPaa into peptide chain using custom-made in vitro translation system under reprogrammed genetic code. Read More

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https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S09581669183016
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2018.10.012DOI Listing
November 2018
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Harnessing lignin evolution for biotechnological applications.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2018 Nov 13;56:105-111. Epub 2018 Nov 13.

Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, 455 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA; Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA. Electronic address:

Lignin evolved concomitantly with the rise of vascular plants on planet earth ∼450 million years ago. Several iterations of exploiting ancestral phenylpropanoid metabolism for biopolymers occurred prior to lignin that facilitated early plants' adaptation to terrestrial environments. The first true lignin was constructed via oxidative coupling of a number of simple phenylpropanoid alcohols to form a sturdy polymer that supports long-distance water transport. Read More

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https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S09581669183006
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2018.10.011DOI Listing
November 2018
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Covalent interactions between lignin and hemicelluloses in plant secondary cell walls.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2018 Nov 10;56:97-104. Epub 2018 Nov 10.

Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge, Hopkins Building, The Downing Site, Tennis Court Road, Cambridge CB2 1QW, UK. Electronic address:

The plant secondary cell wall is a complex structure composed of polysaccharides and lignin, and is a key evolutionary innovation of vascular land plants. Although cell wall composition is well understood, the cross-linking of the different polymers is only now yielding to investigation. Cross-linking between hemicelluloses and lignin occurs via two different mechanisms: incorporation into lignin by radical coupling of ferulate substitutions on xylan in commelinid monocots, and incorporation of hemicellulosic glycosyl residues by re-aromatisation of lignification intermediates. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2018.10.010DOI Listing
November 2018
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Cell-free transcription-translation: engineering biology from the nanometer to the millimeter scale.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2018 Nov 2;58:19-27. Epub 2018 Nov 2.

University of Minnesota, Physics and Nanotechnology, 115 Union Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA. Electronic address:

Cell-free transcription-translation (TXTL) has become a highly versatile technology to construct, characterize and interrogate genetically programmed biomolecular systems implemented outside living organisms. By recapitulating gene expression in vitro, TXTL offers unparalleled flexibility to take apart, engineer and analyze quantitatively the effects of chemical, physical and genetic contexts on the function of biochemical systems, from simple regulatory elements to millimeter-scale pattern formation. Here, we review the capabilities of the current cell-free platforms for executing DNA programs in vitro. Read More

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https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S09581669183009
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2018.10.007DOI Listing
November 2018
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Microbiological strategies to produce beer and wine with reduced ethanol concentration.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2018 Oct 31;56:88-96. Epub 2018 Oct 31.

The Australian Wine Research Institute, P.O. Box 197, Glen Osmond, Adelaide, SA 5064, Australia. Electronic address:

Changes in consumer preferences, government policies and environmental conditions have driven research efforts towards producing alcoholic beverages with reduced alcohol content, namely wine and beer. While the strategies available to accomplish this goal vary for wine and beer, a common approach relies on the use of yeast strains which are less efficient at producing ethanol. Here we discuss current research on the isolation and/or generation of yeast strains able to produce beer or wine with reduced ethanol concentration. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2018.10.003DOI Listing
October 2018
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The quest for transcriptional hubs of lignin biosynthesis: beyond the NAC-MYB-gene regulatory network model.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2018 Oct 26;56:82-87. Epub 2018 Oct 26.

Division of Biological Science, Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Ikoma, Nara 630-0192, Japan. Electronic address:

Lignin is an important secondary metabolite in plants. The biosynthesis of lignin is initiated by the transcriptional upregulation of genes encoding enzymes involved in monolignol biosynthesis and lignin polymerization. Based on studies of xylem differentiation over the last two decades, the NAC-MYB-based gene regulatory network (NAC-MYB-GRN) model is widely considered to underpin developmental lignin biosynthesis. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2018.10.002DOI Listing
October 2018
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Following nanomedicine activation with magnetic resonance imaging: why, how, and what's next?

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2018 Oct 31;58:9-18. Epub 2018 Oct 31.

University Medical Center Groningen, Department of Radiology, University of Groningen, Hanzeplein 1, 9713 GZ, Groningen, The Netherlands; Centre for Systems Chemistry, Stratingh Institute for Chemistry, Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Groningen, Nijenborgh 7, 9747 AG Groningen, The Netherlands. Electronic address:

Nanomedicines, such as liposomal formulations, play an important role in cancer therapy. To support their development, medical imaging modalities are employed for following the drug delivery. Encapsulation of MRI contrast agents, which change their relaxivity upon co-release with the drug, is a promising strategy for monitoring both the biodistribution and payload release from a nanocarrier. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2018.10.008DOI Listing
October 2018
9 Reads

Engineering biological interactions on the nanoscale.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2018 Oct 31;58:1-8. Epub 2018 Oct 31.

Department of NanoEngineering and Moores Cancer Center, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA. Electronic address:

Nanoparticulate platforms have contributed significantly to the field of biomedical research, demonstrating advantages over traditional modalities in areas such as drug delivery, detoxification, and vaccination. When it comes to the design of nanoparticles, biomimetic strategies have become increasingly popular as a means of promoting effective interactions with biological systems. A recently developed cell membrane-coated nanoparticle platform can leverage the natural interactions that cells engage in with other cells, the extracellular matrix, and biomolecules in order to reduce undesirable nonspecific interactions, while increasing target-specific interactions. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2018.10.005DOI Listing
October 2018
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Multi-omics at single-cell resolution: comparison of experimental and data fusion approaches.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Feb 24;55:159-166. Epub 2018 Oct 24.

Institute of Biotechnology, Life Sciences Center, Vilnius University, Sauletekio Av. 7, Vilnius LT-10257, Lithuania. Electronic address:

Biological samples are inherently heterogeneous and complex. Tackling this complexity requires innovative technological and analytical solutions. Recent advances in high-throughput single-cell isolation and nucleic acid barcoding methods are rapidly changing the technological landscape of biological sciences and now make it possible to measure the (epi)genomic, transcriptomic, or proteomic state of individual cells. Read More

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https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S09581669183003
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2018.09.012DOI Listing
February 2019
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Lignin polymerization: how do plants manage the chemistry so well?

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2018 Oct 22;56:75-81. Epub 2018 Oct 22.

Department of Botany, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Electronic address:

The final step of lignin biosynthesis is the polymerization of monolignols in apoplastic cell wall domains. In this process, monolignols secreted by lignifying cells, or occasionally neighboring non-lignifying and/or other lignifying cells, are activated by cell-wall-localized oxidation systems, such as laccase/O and/or peroxidase/HO, for combinatorial radical coupling to make the final lignin polymers. Plants can precisely control when, where, and which types of lignin polymers are assembled at tissue and cellular levels, but do not control the polymers' exact chemical structures per se. Read More

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https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S09581669183006
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2018.10.001DOI Listing
October 2018
3 Reads

The transport of monomers during lignification in plants: anything goes but how?

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2018 Oct 19;56:69-74. Epub 2018 Oct 19.

Department of Botany, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4, Canada. Electronic address:

Lignin is a highly abundant polymer in plant cell walls that is essential for land plants' ability to stand upright and transport water. Inside plant cells, lignin monomers, called monolignols, are made from phenylalanine via a multistep pathway. In the cell wall, monomers move freely, until they encounter stationary oxidative enzymes that determine where the lignin polymer forms. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2018.09.011DOI Listing
October 2018
1 Read