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Chimeric LysR-type transcriptional biosensors for customizing ligand specificity profiles toward flavonoids

  • De Paepe, Brecht
  • Maertens, Jo
  • Vanholme, Bartel
  • De Mey, Marjan
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2019
Ghent University Institutional Archive
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Transcriptional biosensors enable key applications in both metabolic engineering and synthetic biology. Due to nature's immense variety of metabolites, these applications require biosensors with a ligand specificity profile customized to the researcher's needs. In this work, chimeric biosensors were created by introducing parts of a donor regulatory circuit from Sinorhizobium meliloti, delivering the desired luteolin-specific response, into a nonspecific biosensor chassis from Herbaspirillum seropedicae. Two strategies were evaluated for the development of chimeric LysR-type biosensors with customized ligand specificity profiles toward three closely related flavonoids, naringenin, apigenin, and luteolin. In the first strategy, chimeric promoter regions were constructed at the biosensor effector module, while in the second strategy, chimeric transcription factors were created at the biosensor detector module. Via both strategies, the biosensor repertoire was expanded with luteolin-specific chimeric biosensors demonstrating a variety of response curves and ligand specificity profiles. Starting from the nonspecific biosensor chassis, a shift from 27.5% to 95.3% luteolin specificity was achieved with the created chimeric biosensors. Both strategies provide a compelling, faster, and more accessible route for the customization of biosensor ligand specificity, compared to de novo design and construction of each biosensor circuit for every desired ligand specificity.

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