Role of transport proteins on production of recombinant phytochemicals
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Flavonoid compounds are the most widespread group of plant polyphenols distributed in all kinds of plant origins. Plant polyphenols play important roles in plant biochemistry and physiology including flavor and flower coloration and are also known to show possible health benefits such as anti-oxidant and anti-cancer properties. Owing to the low concentration of these compounds during plant extraction, alternative methods such as flavonoid biosynthesis from microorganisms utilizing metabolic engineering techniques have been followed to develop efficient microbial strains capable of high yield production of polyphenols. Focusing on this issue, the project deals with modification of transporter proteins in genetically tractable micro-organisms such as Escherichia coli . In microorganisms, transporters consist of efflux pumps, which are involved in the extrusion of toxic compounds from within cells into the external environment, uptake pumps which help to take in small molecules and regulatory proteins which control transcription of these genes. The investigation of mutant strains of Escherichia coli with deletions or over-expressions of transporter genes was undertaken for enhancing recombinant flavonoid production. Certain genetic modifications resulted in an increase in flavanone production of up to 433% compared to the control strains. The identified targets provide additional modification targets to the ones identified towards building highly effective flavonoid producing microorganisms.