Transcription factors as targets for improving Aspergillus niger as cell factory

Lars Poulsen, K.S. Bruno, Jette Thykær, S.E. Baker, Anna Eliasson Lantz

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    Altering fluxes for overcoming metabolic bottlenecks have traditionally been approached by genetic engineering of a single or few metabolic genes. This strategy struggles to overcome the subjacent regulation thus the outcome has frequently shown to be of limited success. Transcription factors have the potential of controlling several fluxes in an organism, hence manipulating expression of these proteins can provide an alternative tool for overcoming metabolic bottlenecks. This approach has previously been demonstrated in yeast with great success for production of ethanol (Schuurmans et al., 2008). In the present study the effect of modulation of transcription factors in Aspergillus niger, which is an industrially important micro-organism used in various processes including organic acid and enzyme production, was investigated. The strategy described in this work focuses on regulation connected to pH. It was chosen as an important process parameter, due to its significant influences on both organic acid and enzyme production. A previous transcription analysis identified several putative transcription factors with pH responding behavior (Andersen et al., 2009). A number of these genes were selected as targets for gene knockout. The resulting mutants were first exposed to screening experiments including morphological studies and investigation of acid profile and protease activity. Among others an interesting finding was that one mutant had an oxalic acid overproducing phenotype (OOP). In the screening experiments the OOP mutant showed a 30 % (± 5%) increase in oxalic acid titer. The OOP mutant was further characterized in 2L scale bioreactors, and a 90 % (±30%) increase of the overall yield coefficient of oxalic acid on glucose was seen. Further data on the OOP mutant will be presented and results from the screening experiments and other mutants of industrial interest discussed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date2009
    Publication statusPublished - 2009
    Event1st Systems Biology as a driver for Industrial Biotechnology Workshop: Systems Biology as a Driver for Industrial Biotechnology - Istanbul, Turkey
    Duration: 8 Dec 20099 Dec 2009
    Conference number: 1


    Workshop1st Systems Biology as a driver for Industrial Biotechnology Workshop
    Internet address


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