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  • Journal article
    Lin L, Ledesma-Amaro R, Ji X-J, Huang Het al., 2023,

    Multienzymatic synthesis of nylon monomers from vegetable oils.

    , Trends Biotechnol, Vol: 41, Pages: 150-153

    Nylons are important polyamide (PA) materials that can be polymerized from different monomers. Bio-based nylon monomers are traditionally obtained through chemical conversion from vegetable oils, but they can be more sustainably obtained through multienzymatic catalysis. For large-scale application of this process, enzyme engineering and process innovation must be combined.

  • Journal article
    Ledesma Amaro R, Selles Vidal L, Isalan M, Heap Jet al., 2023,

    A primer to directed evolution: current methodologies and future directions

    , RSC Chemical Biology, ISSN: 2633-0679
  • Journal article
    Wu Y, Li Y, Jin K, Zhang L, Li J, Liu Y, Du G, Lv X, Chen J, Ledesma-Amaro R, Liu Let al., 2023,

    CRISPR-dCas12a-mediated genetic circuit cascades for multiplexed pathway optimization.

    , Nat Chem Biol

    The production efficiency of microbial cell factories is sometimes limited by the lack of effective methods to regulate multiple targets in a coordinated manner. Here taking the biosynthesis of glucosamine-6-phosphate (GlcN6P) in Bacillus subtilis as an example, a 'design-build-test-learn' framework was proposed to achieve efficient multiplexed optimization of metabolic pathways. A platform strain was built to carry biosensor signal-amplifying circuits and two genetic regulation circuits. Then, a synthetic CRISPR RNA array blend for boosting and leading (ScrABBLE) device was integrated into the platform strain, which generated 5,184 combinatorial assemblies targeting three genes. The best GlcN6P producer was screened and engineered for the synthesis of valuable pharmaceuticals N-acetylglucosamine and N-acetylmannosamine. The N-acetylglucosamine titer reached 183.9 g liter-1 in a 15-liter bioreactor. In addition, the potential generic application of the ScrABBLE device was also verified using three fluorescent proteins as a case study.

  • Journal article
    Hambalko J, Gajdoš P, Nicaud J-M, Ledesma-Amaro R, Tupec M, Pichová I, Čertík Met al., 2023,

    Biosynthesis of Fatty Acid Derivatives by Recombinant Yarrowia lipolytica Containing MsexD2 and MsexD3 Desaturase Genes from Manduca sexta.

    , J Fungi (Basel), Vol: 9

    One of the most interesting groups of fatty acid derivates is the group of conjugated fatty acids from which the most researched include: conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and conjugated linolenic acid (CLNA), which are associated with countless health benefits. Sex pheromone mixtures of some insect species, including tobacco horn-worm (Manduca sexta), are typical for the production of uncommon C16 long conjugated fatty acids with two and three conjugated double bonds, as opposed to C18 long CLA and CLNA. In this study, M. sexta desaturases MsexD2 and MsexD3 were expressed in multiple strains of Y. lipolytica with different genotypes. Experiments with the supplementation of fatty acid methyl esters into the medium resulted in the production of novel fatty acids. Using GCxGC-MS, 20 new fatty acids with two or three double bonds were identified. Fatty acids with conjugated or isolated double bonds, or a combination of both, were produced in trace amounts. The results of this study prove that Y. lipolytica is capable of synthesizing C16-conjugated fatty acids. Further genetic optimization of the Y. lipolytica genome and optimization of the fermentation process could lead to increased production of novel fatty acid derivatives with biotechnologically interesting properties.

  • Journal article
    Wacker T, Helmstetter N, Wilson D, Fisher MC, Studholme DJ, Farrer RAet al., 2023,

    Two-speed genome evolution drives pathogenicity in fungal pathogens of animals.

    , Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, Vol: 120

    The origins and evolution of virulence in amphibian-infecting chytrids Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) and Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) are largely unknown. Here, we use deep nanopore sequencing of Bsal and comparative genomics against 21 high-quality genome assemblies that span the fungal Chytridiomycota. We discover that Bsal has the most repeat-rich genome of the Chytridiomycota, comprising 40.9% repetitive elements; this genome has expanded to more than 3× the length of its conspecific Bd, with autonomous and fully functional LTR/Gypsy elements contributing significantly to the expansion. The M36 metalloprotease virulence factors are highly expanded (n = 177) in Bsal, most of which (53%) are flanked by transposable elements, suggesting they have a repeat-associated expansion. We find enrichment upstream of M36 metalloprotease genes of three novel repeat families belonging to the repeat superfamily of LINEs that are implicated with gene copy number variations. Additionally, Bsal has a highly compartmentalized genome architecture, with virulence factors enriched in gene-sparse/repeat-rich compartments, while core conserved genes are enriched in gene-rich/repeat-poor compartments. Genes upregulated during infection are primarily found in the gene-sparse/repeat-rich compartment in both Bd and Bsal. Furthermore, genes with signatures of positive selection in Bd are enriched in repeat-rich regions, suggesting these regions are a cradle for the evolution of chytrid pathogenicity. These are the hallmarks of two-speed genome evolution, and this study provides evidence of two-speed genomes in an animal pathogen, shedding light on the evolution of fungal pathogens of vertebrates driving global declines and extinctions.

  • Journal article
    Shaw WM, Studená L, Roy K, Hapeta P, McCarty NS, Graham AE, Ellis T, Ledesma-Amaro Ret al., 2023,

    Author Correction: Inducible expression of large gRNA arrays for multiplexed CRISPRai applications.

    , Nat Commun, Vol: 14
  • Journal article
    Peljto AL, Blumhagen RZ, Walts AD, Cardwell J, Powers J, Corte TJ, Dickinson JL, Glaspole I, Moodley YP, Vasakova MK, Bendstrup E, Davidsen JR, Borie R, Crestani B, Dieude P, Bonella F, Costabel U, Gudmundsson G, Donnelly SC, Egan J, Henry MT, Keane MP, Kennedy MP, McCarthy C, McElroy AN, Olaniyi JA, O'Reilly KMA, Richeldi L, Leone PM, Poletti V, Puppo F, Tomassetti S, Luzzi V, Kokturk N, Mogulkoc N, Fiddler CA, Hirani N, Jenkins G, Maher TM, Molyneaux PL, Parfrey H, Braybrooke R, Blackwell TS, Jackson PD, Nathan SD, Porteous MK, Brown KK, Christie JD, Collard HR, Eickelberg O, Foster EE, Gibson KF, Glassberg M, Kass D, Kropski JA, Lederer D, Linderholm AL, Loyd J, Mathai SK, Montesi SB, Noth I, Oldham JM, Palmisciano AJ, Reichner CA, Rojas M, Roman J, Schluger N, Shea BS, Swigris JJ, Wolters PJ, Zhang Y, Prele CMA, Enghelmayer JI, Otaola M, Ryerson CJ, Salinas M, Sterclova M, Gebremariam TH, Myllärniemi M, Carbone R, Furusawa H, Hirose M, Inoue Y, Miyazaki Y, Ohta K, Ohta S, Okamoto T, Kim DS, Pardo A, Selman M, Aranda AU, Park MS, Park JS, Song JW, Molina-Molina M, Planas-Cerezales L, Westergren-Thorsson G, Smith AV, Manichaikul AW, Kim JS, Rich SS, Oelsner EC, Barr RG, Rotter JI, Dupuis J, O'Connor G, Vasan RS, Cho MH, Silverman EK, Schwarz MI, Steele MP, Lee JS, Yang IV, Fingerlin TE, Schwartz DAet al., 2023,

    Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Is Associated with Common Genetic Variants and Limited Rare Variants

    , American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, ISSN: 1073-449X
  • Journal article
    Walls LE, Otoupal P, Ledesma-Amaro R, Velasquez-Orta SB, Gladden JM, Rios-Solis Let al., 2023,

    Bioconversion of cellulose into bisabolene using Ruminococcus flavefaciens and Rhodosporidium toruloides

    , Bioresource Technology, Vol: 368, ISSN: 0960-8524

    In this study, organic acids were demonstrated as a promising carbon source for bisabolene production by the non-conventional yeast, Rhodosporidium toruloides, at microscale with a maximum titre of 1055 ± 7 mg/L. A 125-fold scale-up of the optimal process, enhanced bisabolene titres 2.5-fold to 2606 mg/L. Implementation of a pH controlled organic acid feeding strategy at this scale lead to a further threefold improvement in bisabolene titre to 7758 mg/L, the highest reported microbial titre. Finally, a proof-of-concept sequential bioreactor approach was investigated. Firstly, the cellulolytic bacterium Ruminococcus flavefaciens was employed to ferment cellulose, yielding 4.2 g/L of organic acids. R. toruloides was subsequently cultivated in the resulting supernatant, producing 318 ± 22 mg/L of bisabolene. This highlights the feasibility of a sequential bioprocess for the bioconversion of cellulose, into biojet fuel candidates. Future work will focus on enhancing organic acid yields and the use of real lignocellulosic feedstocks to further enhance bisabolene production.

  • Journal article
    Adachi H, Sakai T, Harant A, Pai H, Honda K, Toghani A, Claeys J, Duggan C, Bozkurt TO, Wu C-H, Kamoun Set al., 2023,

    An atypical NLR protein modulates the NRC immune receptor network in Nicotiana benthamiana.

    , PLoS Genet, Vol: 19

    The NRC immune receptor network has evolved in asterid plants from a pair of linked genes into a genetically dispersed and phylogenetically structured network of sensor and helper NLR (nucleotide-binding domain and leucine-rich repeat-containing) proteins. In some species, such as the model plant Nicotiana benthamiana and other Solanaceae, the NRC (NLR-REQUIRED FOR CELL DEATH) network forms up to half of the NLRome, and NRCs are scattered throughout the genome in gene clusters of varying complexities. Here, we describe NRCX, an atypical member of the NRC family that lacks canonical features of these NLR helper proteins, such as a functional N-terminal MADA motif and the capacity to trigger autoimmunity. In contrast to other NRCs, systemic gene silencing of NRCX in N. benthamiana markedly impairs plant growth resulting in a dwarf phenotype. Remarkably, dwarfism of NRCX silenced plants is partially dependent on NRCX paralogs NRC2 and NRC3, but not NRC4. Despite its negative impact on plant growth when silenced systemically, spot gene silencing of NRCX in mature N. benthamiana leaves doesn't result in visible cell death phenotypes. However, alteration of NRCX expression modulates the hypersensitive response mediated by NRC2 and NRC3 in a manner consistent with a negative role for NRCX in the NRC network. We conclude that NRCX is an atypical member of the NRC network that has evolved to contribute to the homeostasis of this genetically unlinked NLR network.

  • Journal article
    Allen RJ, Oldham JM, Jenkins DA, Leavy OC, Guillen-Guio B, Melbourne CA, Ma S-F, Jou J, Kim JS, CleanUP-IPF Investigators of the Pulmonary Trials Cooperative, Fahy WA, Oballa E, Hubbard RB, Navaratnam V, Braybrooke R, Saini G, Roach KM, Tobin MD, Hirani N, Whyte MKB, Kaminski N, Zhang Y, Martinez FJ, Linderholm AL, Adegunsoye A, Strek ME, Maher TM, Molyneaux PL, Flores C, Noth I, Gisli Jenkins R, Wain LVet al., 2023,

    Longitudinal lung function and gas transfer in individuals with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis: a genome-wide association study

    , The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, Vol: 11, Pages: 65-73, ISSN: 2213-2600

    BACKGROUND: Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is an incurable lung disease characterised by progressive scarring leading to alveolar stiffness, reduced lung capacity, and impeded gas transfer. We aimed to identify genetic variants associated with declining lung capacity or declining gas transfer after diagnosis of IPF. METHODS: We did a genome-wide meta-analysis of longitudinal measures of forced vital capacity (FVC) and diffusing capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide (DLCO) in individuals diagnosed with IPF. Individuals were recruited to three studies between June, 1996, and August, 2017, from across centres in the US, UK, and Spain. Suggestively significant variants were investigated further in an additional independent study (CleanUP-IPF). All four studies diagnosed cases following American Thoracic Society/European Respiratory Society guidelines. Variants were defined as significantly associated if they had a meta-analysis p<5 × 10-8 when meta-analysing across all discovery and follow-up studies, had consistent direction of effects across all four studies, and were nominally significant (p<0·05) in each study. FINDINGS: 1329 individuals with a total of 5216 measures were included in the FVC analysis. 975 individuals with a total of 3361 measures were included in the DLCO analysis. For the discovery genome-wide analyses, 7 611 174 genetic variants were included in the FVC analysis and 7 536 843 in the DLCO analysis. One variant (rs115982800) located in an antisense RNA gene for protein kinase N2 (PKN2) showed a genome-wide significant association with FVC decline (-140 mL/year per risk allele [95% CI -180 to -100]; p=9·14 × 10-12). INTERPRETATION: Our analysis identifies a genetic variant associated with disease progression, which might highlight a new biological mechanism for IPF. We found that PKN2, a Rho and Rac effector protein, is the most likely gene of interest fro

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