Two exciting career opportunities are available in the Designer Glycans group starting February 2022. The PhD and postdoctoral positions are fully funded and offer outstanding benefits. Our ambitious independent junior research group has state-of-the-art facilities for carbohydrate analysis, cell imaging and plant cultivation. We are looking for candidates who are interested in synthetic biology, plant cell walls and/or engineered living materials. Both positions will build upon our recent findings, such as:
Despite rising interest in the engineering of polysaccharide-based biomaterials, relatively little is known about how plant hemicelluloses can be built and tailored in non-plant cell factories. Pichia pastoris is a promising host to study cellulose synthase-like A (CSLA; heteromannan synthases) and CSLC (xyloglucan synthase) activities but the functions of specific protein motifs and the impactContinue reading “New preprint on yeast bioengineering to produce modular plant hemicellulose”
Despite rising interest in the engineering of polysaccharide-based biomaterials, relatively little is known about how plant hemicelluloses can be built and tailored in non-plant cell factories. Pichiapastoris is a promising host to study cellulose synthase-like A (CSLA; heteromannan synthases) and CSLC (xyloglucan synthase) activities but the functions of specific protein motifs and the impact of their products remain unclear. Here, we used a Golden Gate-based system to assemble chimeric CSL enzymes and optimize yeast cultivation to rapidly produce hemicellulose in mg scale.
Interestingly, prolonged expression of a konjac AkCSLA3 glucomannan synthase was toxic to yeast cells, but this impairment was restored by swapping its C-terminal region with that of an Arabidopsis AtCSLA2 mannan synthase. Additional chimeras exceeded the yields of the native enzymes. Overall, cell size was increased or decreased depending on the CSLA sequences used.
Yeast containing plant-like polysaccharides could be viewed as tunable biological capsules for further metabolic engineering studies. Sensitive macromolecules such as therapeutic proteins can be protected by encapsulation in non-toxic plant polysaccharides and Pichia cells are attractive hosts for recombinant protein production. Therefore, our strategy provides basic insight into matrix polysaccharide biosynthesis and could also be used to encapsulate valuable cargo.
We are happy to welcome Sooyun Lee and Tilman Jacob to the Designer Glycans lab. Sooyun first joined us for an internship in February to evaluate fluorescent reporters in Pichia pastoris. She will now start her MSc research thesis on secreting proteins from yeast to modify extracellular glycans.
Tilman is a first-year MSc student at the Martin Luther University, who will initially work as a research assistant. Having previously worked with G-protein-coupled receptors in human cell lines, he is not afraid to investigate some our of membrane-bound glycosyltransferases.
Debora Gasperini, Katharina Bürstenbinder and Catalin Voiniciuc are co-organizing the Leibniz Plant Biochemistry Symposium 2021. This annual conference will be focused on Plant Cell Walls this year, and will be held as an online event for the first time.
We have an exciting speaker line-up and there will be free registration for participants from around the world. Space is limited, so don’t miss out.