3,246 results match your criteria Current Opinion in Biotechnology [Journal]


The flux and impact of wastewater infrastructure microorganisms on human and ecosystem health.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Apr 19;57:145-150. Epub 2019 Apr 19.

School of Freshwater Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 600 E. Greenfield Ave., Milwaukee, WI, 53204, USA.

Wastewater infrastructure is designed, in part, to remove microorganisms. However, many microorganisms are able to colonize infrastructure and resist treatment, resulting in an enormous flux of microorganisms to urban adjacent waters. These urban-associated microorganisms are discharged through three primary routes 1) failing infrastructure, 2) stormwater, and 3) treated wastewater effluent. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.03.015DOI Listing

Leveraging anaerobic fungi for biotechnology.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Apr 18;59:103-110. Epub 2019 Apr 18.

Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Purdue University, 225 South University Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2093, United States; Laboratory of Renewable Resources Engineering (LORRE), Purdue University, 500 Central Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2022, United States; Purdue UniversityInterdisciplinary Life Sciences (PULSe) Program, Purdue University, 155 South Grant Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2114, United States. Electronic address:

Early-branching anaerobic fungi are critical for hydrolyzing untreated lignocellulose in the digestive tracts of large herbivorous animals. While these fungi were discovered more than 40 years ago, they remain understudied and underexploited. Recent advances in -omics technologies, however, have enabled studies that reveal significant biosynthetic potential within anaerobic fungal genomes for diverse biotechnological applications. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.03.013DOI Listing

Metabolic modelling of mixed culture anaerobic microbial processes.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Apr 17;57:137-144. Epub 2019 Apr 17.

School of Chemical Engineering, The University of Queensland, 4072, St Lucia, Brisbane, Australia.

Mixed culture anaerobic processes are important to environmental systems, including the global carbon cycle, and industrial and environmental biotechnology. Mixed culture metabolic modelling (MM) is an essential tool to analyse these systems. MM predicts microbial function based on knowledge or assumption of cellular metabolism. Read More

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https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S09581669183008
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.03.014DOI Listing
April 2019
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Nontuberculous mycobacteria in drinking water systems - the challenges of characterization and risk mitigation.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Apr 16;57:127-136. Epub 2019 Apr 16.

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

Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) pulmonary infections are a growing concern worldwide, with a disproportionate incidence in persons with pre-existing health conditions. NTM have frequently been found in municipally-treated drinking water and building plumbing, leading to the hypothesis that an important source of NTM exposure is drinking water. The identification and quantification of NTM in environmental samples are complicated by genetic variability among NTM species, making it challenging to determine if clinically relevant NTM are present. Read More

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https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S09581669183023
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.03.010DOI Listing
April 2019
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Editorial overview: Plant biotechnology - lignin engineering.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Apr;56:iii-v

Departments of Biochemistry and Biological Systems Engineering, and the Department of Energy's Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, The Wisconsin Energy Institute, The University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53726, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.04.001DOI Listing

Dynamical systems approaches to personalized medicine.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Apr 9;58:168-174. Epub 2019 Apr 9.

Department of Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University, 950 Atlantic Drive, Atlanta, GA 30332, United States. Electronic address:

The complexity of the human body is a major roadblock to diagnosis and treatment of disease. Individuals may be diagnosed with the same disease but exhibit different biomarker profiles or physiological changes and, importantly, they may respond differently to the same risk factors and the same treatment. There is no doubt that computational methods of data analysis and interpretation must be developed for medicine to evolve from the traditional population-based approaches to personalized treatment strategies. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.03.005DOI Listing

Beyond bulk: a review of single cell transcriptomics methodologies and applications.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Apr 9;58:129-136. Epub 2019 Apr 9.

Department of Neuroscience, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX 75390, USA. Electronic address:

Single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) is a promising approach to study the transcriptomes of individual cells in the brain and the central nervous system (CNS). This technology acts as a bridge between neuroscience, computational biology, and systems biology, enabling an unbiased and novel understanding of the cellular composition of the brain and CNS. Gene expression at the single cell resolution is often noisy, sparse, and high-dimensional, creating challenges for computational analysis of such data. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.03.001DOI Listing

Regulation of key NO production mechanisms during biological water treatment.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Apr 9;57:119-126. Epub 2019 Apr 9.

Department of Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, Miljøvej 115, 2800 Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark.

Nitrous oxide (NO) is a potent greenhouse gas emitted during biological treatment of residual waters and can contribute significantly to the carbon footprint of the overall treatment, potentially offsetting energy-positive strategies. NO production is mediated by three known biological pathways and through abiotic reactions, driven by biologically generated substances such as hydroxylamine and nitrite. The contributions of these different mechanism are determined by the environmental conditions and the resident microbial community. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.03.006DOI Listing
April 2019
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Applications of multiplex genome editing in higher plants.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Apr 9;59:93-102. Epub 2019 Apr 9.

Department of Crop Production and Forestry Sciences, University of Lleida, Agrotecnio Center, Avda Alcalde Rovira Roure 191, 28049 Lleida, Spain.

Multiplex genome editing involves the simultaneous targeting of multiple related or unrelated targets. The latter is most straightforward using the CRISPR/Cas9 system because multiple gRNAs can be delivered either as independent expression cassettes with their own promoters or as polycistronic transcripts processed into mature gRNAs by endogenous or introduced nucleases. Multiplex genome editing in plants initially focused on input traits such as herbicide resistance, but has recently expanded to include hormone biosynthesis and perception, metabolic engineering, plant development and molecular farming, with more than 100 simultaneous targeting events reported. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.02.015DOI Listing
April 2019
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Signaling pathways in context.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Apr 8;58:155-160. Epub 2019 Apr 8.

Theoretical Biophysics, Institute of Biology, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Invalidenstr. 42, 10115 Berlin, Germany. Electronic address:

The last decade has seen a rise in the development of methods and models to analyze cellular networks on all levels. The applications of this knowledge are, however, often confined to specifics of the network in concrete conditions and leveraging it is hampered by the lack of information about this context and its implications on the system. While not all cellular networks have been deciphered yet, even for well-studied networks their versatility in different contexts is barely considered. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.03.011DOI Listing
April 2019
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Future prospects for noncanonical amino acids in biological therapeutics.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Apr 8;60:168-178. Epub 2019 Apr 8.

Chemical and Biological Engineering Department, Tufts University, Medford, MA 02155, United States; Biomedical Engineering Department, Tufts University, Medford, MA 02155, United States. Electronic address:

There is growing evidence that noncanonical amino acids (ncAAs) can be utilized in the creation of biological therapeutics ranging from protein conjugates to cell-based therapies. However, when does genetically encoding ncAAs yield biologics with unique properties compared to other approaches? In this review, we attempt to answer this question in the broader context of therapeutic development, emphasizing advances within the past two years. In several areas, ncAAs add valuable routes to therapeutically relevant entities, but application-specific needs ultimately determine whether ncAA-mediated or alternative solutions are preferred. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.02.020DOI Listing
April 2019
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Big data analytics for personalized medicine.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Apr 6;58:161-167. Epub 2019 Apr 6.

Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC), C/Jordi Girona 29, 08034, Barcelona, Spain; ICREA, Pg. Lluís Companys 23, 08010, Barcelona, Spain.

Big Data are radically changing biomedical research. The unprecedented advances in automated collection of large-scale molecular and clinical data pose major challenges to data analysis and interpretation, calling for the development of new computational approaches. The creation of powerful systems for the effective use of biomedical Big Data in Personalized Medicine (a. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.03.004DOI Listing

Re-evaluating the microbiology of the enhanced biological phosphorus removal process.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Apr 5;57:111-118. Epub 2019 Apr 5.

Center for Microbial Communities, Department of Chemistry and Bioscience, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark.

We have critically assessed some of the dogmas in the microbiology of enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) and argue that the genus Tetrasphaera can be as important as Ca. Accumulibacter for phosphorus removal; and that proliferation of their competitors, the glycogen accumulating organisms, does not appear to be a practical problem for EBPR efficiency even under tropical conditions. An increasing number of EBPR-related genomes are changing our understanding of their physiology, for example, their potential to participate in denitrification. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.03.008DOI Listing

Reconstructing functional networks in the human intestinal tract using synthetic microbiomes.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Apr 5;58:146-154. Epub 2019 Apr 5.

Laboratory of Microbiology, Wageningen University & Research, Stippeneng 4, 6708 WE Wageningen, The Netherlands; Human Microbiome Research Program, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.

The human intestinal tract harbors one of the most densely populated and open microbial ecosystems. The application of multi-omics approaches has provided insight into a wide array of complex interactions between the various groups of mainly anaerobic colonic microbes as well as the host-microbe dialogue. Integration of multi-omics techniques in cultivation based experiments that vary in complexity from monocultures to synthetic microbial communities identified key metabolic players in the trophic interactions as well as their ecological dynamics. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.03.009DOI Listing

Next-generation human genetics for organism-level systems biology.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Apr 4;58:137-145. Epub 2019 Apr 4.

Laboratory for Synthetic Biology, RIKEN Center for Biosystems Dynamics Research, 1-3 Yamadaoka, Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan; Department of Systems Pharmacology, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan; International Research Center for Neurointelligence (WPI-IRCN), UTIAS, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan. Electronic address:

Systems-biological approaches, such as comprehensive identification and analysis of system components and networks, are necessary to understand design principles of human physiology and pathology. Although reverse genetics using mouse models have been used previously, it is a low throughput method because of the need for repetitive crossing to produce mice having all cells of the body with knock-out or knock-in mutations. Moreover, there are often issues from the interspecific gap between humans and mice. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.03.003DOI Listing

The role of microbial electrolysis cell in urban wastewater treatment: integration options, challenges, and prospects.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Apr 3;57:101-110. Epub 2019 Apr 3.

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Biological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering Division, Water Desalination and Reuse Center, Thuwal 23955-6900, Saudi Arabia. Electronic address:

Microbial electrolysis cell (MEC) is an anaerobic biological process for the conversion of organics in wastewater into renewable energy in the form of hydrogen or methane. However, MEC cannot be used as a standalone technology for urban wastewater treatment, and post-treatment or integrated processes are required to meet water reuse and discharge limits. Recent advances in material science and the discovery of new microorganisms capable of extracellular electron transfer to the electrodes have widened the integration opportunities of MEC in mainstream and side-stream urban wastewater treatment. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.03.007DOI Listing
April 2019
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Microbial community design: methods, applications, and opportunities.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Apr 2;58:117-128. Epub 2019 Apr 2.

Department of Genome Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, 98195, USA; Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA; Blavatnik School of Computer Science, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 6997801, Israel; Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 6997801, Israel; Santa Fe Institute, Santa Fe, NM 87501, USA. Electronic address:

Microbial communities can perform a variety of behaviors that are useful in both therapeutic and industrial settings. Engineered communities that differ in composition from naturally occurring communities offer a unique opportunity for improving upon existing community functions and expanding the range of microbial community applications. This has prompted recent advances in various community design approaches including artificial selection procedures, reduction from existing communities, combinatorial evaluation of potential microbial combinations, and model-based in silico community optimization. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.03.002DOI Listing
April 2019
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Perspectives on the fate of micropollutants in mainstream anaerobic wastewater treatment.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Apr 2;57:94-100. Epub 2019 Apr 2.

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Rice University, 6100 Main Street, Houston, TX 77005, USA. Electronic address:

Mainstream anaerobic treatment technologies are a viable alternative to conventional aerobic treatment to recover resources and improve process sustainability. However, resource recovery efforts must be coordinated with efforts to abate environmental risks associated with micropollutants (e.g. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.02.022DOI Listing

From synthetic biology to human therapy: engineered mammalian cells.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Mar 29;58:108-116. Epub 2019 Mar 29.

Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering, ETH Zurich, Mattenstrasse 26, CH-4058, Basel, Switzerland; University of Basel, Faculty of Science, Mattenstrasse 26, CH-4058, Basel, Switzerland. Electronic address:

Mammalian synthetic biology has evolved to become a key driver of biomedical innovation in the area of cell therapy. Advances in receptor engineering, immunotherapy and cell implants promise new treatment options for complex diseases. Synthetic receptors have already found applications in cellular immunotherapy for cancer treatment, and are being introduced into the field of cell implants. 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.2019.02.023DOI Listing
March 2019
4 Reads

Wiring cell growth to product formation.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Mar 28;59:85-92. Epub 2019 Mar 28.

Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability, Technical University of Denmark, DK-2800 Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark. Electronic address:

Microbial cell factories offer new and sustainable production routes for high-value chemicals. However, identification of high producers within a library of clones remains a challenge. When product formation is coupled to growth, millions of metabolic variants can be effectively interrogated by growth selection, dramatically increasing the throughput of strain evaluation. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.02.014DOI Listing
March 2019
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Biofuel and bioproduct environmental sustainability analysis.

Authors:
Jennifer B Dunn

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Mar 28;57:88-93. Epub 2019 Mar 28.

Chemical and Biological Engineering, Northwestern University, United States; Northwestern-Argonne Institute of Science and Engineering, 1-160 Hogan Building, Evanston, IL, United States. Electronic address:

Life cycle analysis (LCA) is a key tool in the evaluation of biofuel and bioproduct sustainability. Recent advances in these analyses include increased incorporation of spatially explicit elements of feedstock growth including changes in soil carbon and fertilization rates. Furthermore, new evaluations of processes to convert biomass to fuels (ethanol, algal-derived fuels, jet fuels, and others) and products have been conducted that examine emerging conversion technologies. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.02.008DOI Listing
March 2019
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Population-level approaches reveal novel aspects of lignin biosynthesis, content, composition and structure.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Apr 27;56:250-257. Epub 2019 Mar 27.

Center for Bioenergy Innovation, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN 37831, United States; University of Tennessee Governor's Chair, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN 37831, United States.

Population-level studies enabled by high-throughput phenotyping have revealed significant variation in lignin characteristics including content, S:G:H ratio, inter-unit linkage distributions, and molecular weights across multiple plant species. Coupled with genome-wide association mapping studies (GWAS) targeted at linking genetic mutations to phenotype, significant progress has been made in associating putative causal mutations to variation in lignin characteristics. Despite this progress, there are few examples, in which these associations have been molecularly validated to provide new insights into the genetic regulation of lignin biosynthesis. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.02.017DOI Listing

Custom-made transcriptional biosensors for metabolic engineering.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Mar 25;59:78-84. Epub 2019 Mar 25.

Micalis Institute, INRA, AgroParisTech, Université Paris-Saclay, Jouy-en-Josas, France; Génomique Métabolique, Genoscope, Institut François Jacob, CEA, CNRS, Univ Evry, Université Paris-Saclay, 91057 Evry, France; SYNBIOCHEM Center, School of Chemistry, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK. Electronic address:

Transcriptional biosensors allow screening, selection, or dynamic regulation of metabolic pathways, and are, therefore, an enabling technology for faster prototyping of metabolic engineering and sustainable chemistry. Recent advances have been made, allowing for routine use of heterologous transcription factors, and new strategies such as chimeric protein design allow engineers to tap into the reservoir of metabolite-binding proteins. However, extending the sensing scope of biosensors is only the first step, and computational models can help in fine-tuning properties of biosensors for custom-made behavior. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.02.016DOI Listing

Lignin structure and its engineering.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Apr 25;56:240-249. Epub 2019 Mar 25.

Ghent University, Department of Plant Biotechnology and Bioinformatics, Technologiepark 71, B-9052, Gent, Belgium; VIB Center for Plant Systems Biology, Technologiepark 927, B-9052, Gent, Belgium.

Studies on lignin structure and its engineering are inextricably and bidirectionally linked. Perturbations of genes on the lignin biosynthetic pathway may result in striking compositional and structural changes that in turn suggest novel approaches for altering lignin and even 'designing' the polymer to enhance its value or with a view toward its simpler removal from the cell wall polysaccharides. Basic structural studies on various native lignins increasingly refine our knowledge of lignin structure, and examining lignins in different species reveals the extent to which evolution and natural variation have resulted in the incorporation of 'non-traditional' phenolic monomers, including phenolics from beyond the monolignol biosynthetic pathway. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.02.019DOI Listing

Lignin biosynthesis and its integration into metabolism.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Apr 23;56:230-239. Epub 2019 Mar 23.

Ghent University, Department of Plant Biotechnology and Bioinformatics, Technologiepark 71, 9052 Ghent, Belgium; VIB Center for Plant Systems Biology, Technologiepark 71, 9052 Ghent, Belgium. Electronic address:

Lignin is a principal structural component of cell walls in higher terrestrial plants. It reinforces the cell walls, facilitates water transport, and acts as a physical barrier to pathogens. Lignin is typically described as being composed of p-hydroxyphenyl (H), guaiacyl (G), and syringyl (S) units that derive from the polymerization of the hydroxycinnamyl alcohols, p-coumaryl, coniferyl, and sinapyl alcohol, respectively. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.02.018DOI Listing
April 2019
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Lignin engineering to improve saccharification and digestibility in grasses.

Authors:
Claire Halpin

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Apr 22;56:223-229. Epub 2019 Mar 22.

Division of Plant Sciences, School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee at the JHI, Invergowrie, Dundee DD2 5DA, United Kingdom. Electronic address:

The digestibility of plant biomass has a major influence on its value as a forage for livestock and as a feedstock for industrial biotechnology. For both processes, the concentration, structure and composition of lignin influence the accessibility of wall carbohydrate polymers to microbes and digestive enzymes during biochemical decomposition. Although lignin engineering has been less tractable in monocots than in model dicots, a body of work is accumulating on the effects of manipulating lignin biosynthesis in energy grasses and cereal crops. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.02.013DOI Listing

Filamentous fungi for the production of enzymes, chemicals and materials.

Authors:
Han A B Wösten

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Mar 19;59:65-70. Epub 2019 Mar 19.

Microbiology, Department of Biology, Utrecht University, Padualaan 8, 3584 CH, Utrecht, The Netherlands. Electronic address:

Filamentous fungi have been used for more than a century as versatile and highly productive cell factories. They are used to produce enzymes and small molecule compounds such as antibiotics and organic acids. Filamentous fungi are now also being explored for the production of sustainable materials that can for instance replace plastics. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.02.010DOI Listing

Recent trends in integrated bioprocesses: aiding and expanding microbial biofuel/biochemical production.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Mar 13;57:82-87. Epub 2019 Mar 13.

Chemical Engineering Program, School for Engineering of Matter, Transport, and Energy, Arizona State University, United States. Electronic address:

Microbial biosynthesis of fuels and chemicals represents a promising route for their renewable production. Product toxicity, however, represents a common challenge limiting the efficacy of this approach. Integrated bioprocesses incorporating in situ product separation are poised to help address this intrinsic problem, but suffer their own unique shortcomings. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.02.007DOI Listing
March 2019
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Thermoacidophilic Sulfolobus species as source for extremozymes and as novel archaeal platform organisms.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Mar 12;59:71-77. Epub 2019 Mar 12.

Molecular Enzyme Technology and Biochemistry (MEB), Biofilm Centre, Centre for Water and Environmental Research (CWE), University of Duisburg-Essen, Universitätsstraße 5, 45141 Essen, Germany. Electronic address:

Archaea dominate extreme habitats and possess unique cellular and metabolic properties with novel or modified metabolic pathways and unusual enzymes. Thermoacidophilic Sulfolobus species and their thermo(acido)philic enzymes gained special attention due to their adaptation toward two extremes, high temperature (75-80°C) and low pH (pH 2-5), that matches harsh process conditions in industrial applications. For different Sulfolobus species versatile genetic systems have been established and significant metabolic and physiological information from classical biochemistry and genetic as well as poly-omics and systems biology approaches is available. 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.2019.02.012DOI Listing
March 2019
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Extreme thermophiles as emerging metabolic engineering platforms.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Mar 12;59:55-64. Epub 2019 Mar 12.

Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7905, United States. Electronic address:

Going forward, industrial biotechnology must consider non-model metabolic engineering platforms if it is to have maximal impact. This will include microorganisms that natively possess strategic physiological and metabolic features but lack either molecular genetic tools or such tools are rudimentary, requiring further development. If non-model platforms are successfully deployed, new avenues for production of fuels and chemicals from renewable feedstocks or waste materials will emerge. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.02.006DOI Listing

Transplanting the pathway engineering toolbox to methanogens.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Mar 12;59:46-54. Epub 2019 Mar 12.

Department of Microbiology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA. Electronic address:

Biological methanogenesis evolved early in Earth's history and was likely already a major process by 3.5 Ga. Modern methanogenesis is now a key process in virtually all anaerobic microbial communities, such as marine and lake sediments, wetland and rice soils, and human and cattle digestive tracts. 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.2019.02.009DOI Listing
March 2019
4 Reads

Oleaginous yeast for biofuel and oleochemical production.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Mar 12;57:73-81. Epub 2019 Mar 12.

Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634, United States. Electronic address:

Current transportation fuels derived from petroleum can also be made from microbial systems. In particular, oleaginous yeast have naturally evolved high flux pathways for fatty acids in the form of neutral lipids, which can be converted into a variety of drop-in fuels. Here, we describe the recent advances in the use of the four most popular oleaginous yeasts for making lipids and other potential fuels - Yarrowia lipolytica, Lipomyces starkeyi, Rhodosporidium toruloides, and Cutaneotrichosporon oleaginosus. 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.2019.02.011DOI Listing
March 2019
8 Reads

Chemical and physical instabilities in manufacturing and storage of therapeutic proteins.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Mar 9;60:159-167. Epub 2019 Mar 9.

Drug Product Science and Technology, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, One Squibb Drive, New Brunswick, NJ 08903, United States.

Development of a robust biologic drug product is accomplished by extensive formulation and process development screening studies; however, even in the most optimal formulation, a protein can undergo spontaneous degradation during manufacture, storage, and clinical use. Chemical changes to amino acid residues, such as oxidation of methionine or tryptophan, or changes in charge such as deamidation or carbonylation, can induce conformational changes in the overall protein structure, potentially leading to changes in physical - in addition to chemical - stability. Oxidation is often caused by light exposure or the presence of metal ions or peroxides. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.01.014DOI Listing
March 2019
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Limitations in converting waste gases to fuels and chemicals.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Mar 8;59:39-45. Epub 2019 Mar 8.

Department of Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA. Electronic address:

Carbon dioxide remediation is of vital importance in mitigating the impact of greenhouse gases on climate change. While various technologies have been presented in the literature, we argue that only by valorizing CO capture can such technologies reach widespread adoption in the current geo-political disposition. One such option is CO fixation by autotrophic bacteria into bio-diesel and commodity chemicals. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.02.004DOI Listing

Genetic circuitry for personalized human cell therapy.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Mar 7;59:31-38. Epub 2019 Mar 7.

Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering, ETH Zurich, Mattenstrasse 26, CH-4058 Basel, Switzerland; Faculty of Science, University of Basel, Mattenstrasse 26, CH-4058 Basel, Switzerland. Electronic address:

Synthetic biology uses engineering principles to design and assemble biological components and systems for a variety of applications. On the basis of genetic engineering, synthetic gene switches can be interconnected to construct complex gene circuits, capable of sensing and integrating diverse input signals for precise spatiotemporal control of target gene expression in living cells. Designer cells can be equipped with advanced gene circuitry enabling them to react precisely to pre-programmed combinations of conditions, automatically triggering a specified response, such as therapeutic protein production. 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.2019.02.003DOI Listing
March 2019
8 Reads

Metabolic kinetic modeling provides insight into complex biological questions, but hurdles remain.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Mar 6;59:24-30. Epub 2019 Mar 6.

Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA; Center for Synthetic Biology, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA. Electronic address:

Metabolic models containing kinetic information can answer unique questions about cellular metabolism that are useful to metabolic engineering. Several kinetic modeling frameworks have recently been developed or improved. In addition, techniques for systematic identification of model structure, including regulatory interactions, have been reported. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.02.005DOI Listing
March 2019
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Extracellular vesicles: exosomes, microparticles, their parts, and their targets to enable their biomanufacturing and clinical applications.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Mar 6;60:89-98. Epub 2019 Mar 6.

Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19711, United States; Delaware Biotechnology Institute, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19711, United States; Department of Biological Sciences, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19711, United States. Electronic address:

Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are membrane vesicles, the submicron-size microparticles and the nanometer-size exosomes, that carry RNAs, proteins and lipids from their parent cells. EV generation takes place under cellular activation or stress. Cells use EVs to communicate with other cells by delivering signals through their content and surface proteins. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.01.005DOI Listing

Reaching full potential: bioelectrochemical systems for storing renewable energy in chemical bonds.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Mar 5;57:66-72. Epub 2019 Mar 5.

Molecular Foundry, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA; Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Biosciences Division, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA; Synthetic Biology Institute, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA. Electronic address:

The growing abundance of wind and solar power has driven interest in utilizing this renewable energy to make chemicals. One of the most efficient and sophisticated frameworks to solar-to-chemical conversion is bioelectrochemical systems that electrochemically couple inorganic catalysts and microorganisms. In particular, microbial electrosynthesis systems and biohybrid systems have used CO and electricity or light, respectively, to synthesize organic acids at energy efficiencies that exceed natural photosynthesis. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.01.018DOI Listing

Why recombinant antibodies - benefits and applications.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Mar 5;60:153-158. Epub 2019 Mar 5.

Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of California, San Francisco, United States.

Antibodies (Abs) are ubiquitous reagents for biological and biochemical research and are rapidly expanding into new therapeutic areas. They are one of the most important probes for determining how proteins function under normal and pathophysiological conditions. Abs are required for the quantification of targets, detection of temporal and spatial patterns of protein expression in cells and tissues, and identification of interacting partners and their biological activities. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.01.012DOI Listing
March 2019
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Exploiting BBB disruption for the delivery of nanocarriers to the diseased CNS.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Mar 5;60:146-152. Epub 2019 Mar 5.

Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, United States. Electronic address:

The blood-brain barrier (BBB) segregates the central nervous system from the systemic circulation. As such, the BBB not only prevents toxins and pathogens from entering the brain, but also limits the brain uptake of therapeutic molecules. However, under certain pathological conditions, the BBB is disrupted, allowing direct interaction between blood components and the diseased site. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.01.013DOI Listing

Metabolic editing: small measures, great impact.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Mar 5;59:16-23. Epub 2019 Mar 5.

Ghent University, Department of Plant Biotechnology and Bioinformatics, Technologiepark 71, B-9052 Ghent, Belgium; VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology, Technologiepark 927, B-9052 Ghent, Belgium. Electronic address:

Metabolic pathways are tightly regulated at the transcriptional and post-translational level, often relying on protein-protein interactions or post-translational protein modifications. Whereas these principles have been established already for a long time, the number of experimentally established cases is expected to rise exponentially in the near future as a result of recent advances in protein-based detection methods. Interactions and modifications are often dependent on only short amino-acid sequences that represent excellent targets for new gene editing technologies by which specific base pairs can be exchanged. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.02.002DOI Listing

Cell culture systems: invaluable tools to investigate lignin formation and cell wall properties.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Apr 5;56:215-222. Epub 2019 Mar 5.

USDA-ARS, US Dairy Forage Research Center, 1925 Linden Drive West, Madison, WI 53706, USA.

Although the use of cell culture systems in Plant Biology and Biotechnology has been limited compared to other areas of Life Sciences, plant cell cultures capable of lignifying on demand have proven invaluable in unravelling the lignification process and its impact on biomass utilization. Inducible cell cultures have enabled researchers to decipher multiple levels of cellular control used in and between plant cells to define the spatiotemporal deposition, composition, structure, and quantity of lignin. Artificially lignified cell cultures have also been used to determine the effects of lignin composition on the susceptibility of cell walls to chemical treatments, and digestion by rumen microflora or fungal enzymes. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.02.001DOI Listing

Directing toll-like receptor signaling in macrophages to enhance tumor immunotherapy.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Mar 1;60:138-145. Epub 2019 Mar 1.

Fischell Department of Bioengineering, University of Maryland, 8278 Paint Branch Drive, College Park, MD 20742, USA; Robert E. Fischell Institute for Biomedical Devices, 8278 Paint Branch Drive, College Park, MD 20742, USA; United States Department of Veterans Affairs, Maryland VA Health Care System, 10 North Greene Street, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA; Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, 685 West Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA; Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center, 22 South Greene Street, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA. Electronic address:

A key challenge facing immunotherapy is poor infiltration of T cells into tumors, along with suppression of cells reaching these sites. However, macrophages make up a majority of immune cell infiltrates into tumors, creating natural targets for immunotherapies able to direct macrophages away from tumor-supportive functions and toward anti-tumor phenotypes. Recent studies demonstrate that toll-like receptors (TLRs) - pathways that quickly trigger early immune responses - play an important role in polarizing macrophages. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.01.010DOI Listing

The fickle CHO: a review of the causes, implications, and potential alleviation of the CHO cell line instability problem.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Feb 28;60:128-137. Epub 2019 Feb 28.

Delaware Biotechnology Institute, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19711, United States; Dept. of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716, United States. Electronic address:

Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell-based bioproduction of recombinant proteins can now routinely achieve >5 g/L titers in fed-batches. This progress is partly due to the rapid adaptability of CHO cells to various genetic manipulations and changing process conditions. An inherently plastic genome allows for this adaptability; however, it also gives CHO cells the propensity for genomic rearrangements. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.01.011DOI Listing
February 2019
7.117 Impact Factor

Selecting and engineering monoclonal antibodies with drug-like specificity.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Feb 26;60:119-127. Epub 2019 Feb 26.

Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA; Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA; Biointerfaces Institute, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA; Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA. Electronic address:

Despite the recent explosion in the use of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) as drugs, it remains a significant challenge to generate antibodies with a combination of physicochemical properties that are optimal for therapeutic applications. We argue that one of the most important and underappreciated drug-like antibody properties is high specificity - defined here as low levels of antibody non-specific and self-interactions - which is linked to low off-target binding and slow antibody clearance in vivo and high solubility and low viscosity in vitro. Here, we review the latest advances in characterizing antibody specificity and elucidating its molecular determinants as well as using these findings to improve the selection and engineering of antibodies with extremely high, drug-like specificity. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.01.008DOI Listing
February 2019

Outsmarting and outmuscling cancer cells with synthetic and systems immunology.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Feb 26;60:111-118. Epub 2019 Feb 26.

Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, United States; Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy Center at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90095, United States. Electronic address:

Adoptive T-cell therapy has shown remarkable clinical efficacy in treating refractory hematological cancers. However, challenges presented by solid tumors impede the applicability of adoptive T-cell therapy to the majority of cancers. In order to engineer effective T-cell therapies targeting solid tumors, two synergistic design criteria-T-cell therapeutic programs and anti-tumor T-cell chassis-should be taken into consideration. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.01.016DOI Listing
February 2019

Data-driven engineering of protein therapeutics.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Feb 26;60:104-110. Epub 2019 Feb 26.

Dept. of Chemical Engineering & Materials Science, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, United States; Dept. of Biosystems Engineering, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, United States; Dept. of Biomedical Engineering, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, United States; Institute for Quantitative Biology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, United States. Electronic address:

Protein therapeutics requires a series of properties beyond biochemical activity, including serum stability, low immunogenicity, and manufacturability. Mutations that improve one property often decrease one or more of the other essential requirements for therapeutic efficacy, making the protein engineering challenge difficult. The past decade has seen an explosion of new techniques centered around cheaply reading and writing DNA. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.01.015DOI Listing
February 2019

Engineering the AAV capsid to evade immune responses.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Feb 23;60:99-103. Epub 2019 Feb 23.

Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA; Department of Bioengineering, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA; The Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA; Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Electronic address:

Gene therapy is progressively emerging as a promising and powerful therapeutic modality, and adeno-associated virus (AAV) is a major delivery vehicle for such therapies. Among the most significant challenges that limit AAV's utility, however, is the immune response it elicits. Antibodies elicited by prior exposure to natural virus or vector can bind to an AAV vector, preventing it from entering the cell. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.01.002DOI Listing
February 2019

Emerging technologies in protein interface engineering for biomedical applications.

Curr Opin Biotechnol 2019 Feb 22;60:82-88. Epub 2019 Feb 22.

Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, United States; Department of Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, United States. Electronic address:

Protein interactions communicate critical information from the environment into cells to orchestrate functional responses relevant to health and disease. Whereas the natural repertoire of protein interfaces is finite, biomolecular engineering tools provide access to an unlimited scope of potential interactions that can be custom-designed for affinity, specificity, mechanism, or other properties of interest. This review highlights recent developments in protein interface engineering that offer insight into human physiology to inform the design of new pharmaceuticals, with a particular focus on immunotherapeutics. Read More

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2019.01.017DOI Listing
February 2019