Yeast Biofuel

INDUSTRIAL BIOTECHNOLOGY  / Biofuels and Industrial Biotechnology

Research Interests

Synthetic Biology, Yeast Metabolic Engineering, Microbial Cell Factories, Fungal Drug Resistance

Description of Research

Microbial cell factories are excellent alternative for manufacturing bio-based chemicals including biofuel molecules. The advantage of microbial cell factories is that they can use low-value materials (agricultural waste) as a carbon source for growth and desired product synthesis. Thus, microbial cell factories have the potential to make a major contributions to the circular economy by extracting value from current waste streams. To this end the research group is exploiting synthetic biology and metabolic engineering approaches to develop yeast strains with a broad range of sugars (C5 and C6), utilisation capabilities and synthesising value-added compounds such as Xylitol, xylo-oligosaccharides, bio-alcohols and FAEE.

In any microbial cell factory substrates have to be taken up and the product exported (efflux system). The translocation of molecules across membranes requires the action of transporters. Membrane transporters are the gatekeepers of the cell controlling what is allowed in and out. We are elucidating the mechanism of substrate recognition and transport of foreign molecules by membrane bund transporters.

A second interest of the Group is in the field of Multi-drug resistance (MDR) research, with particular reference to fungal drug resistance. The laboratory is exploring role of epigenetic markers and molecular mechanisms of transcriptional control of gene regulation in human fungal pathogen such as Candida albicans, Candida glabrata and Candida auris. 

Yeast metabolic engineering to develop strains capable of a wide rage of sugar utilisation, stress tolerance and production of industrially relevant compounds
Yeast metabolic engineering to develop strains capable of a wide rage of sugar utilisation, stress tolerance and production of industrially relevant compounds

Recent Publications

Khandelwal, N.K., Wasi, M., Nair, R., Gupta, M., Kumar, M., Mondal, A.K., Gaur, N.A., Prasad, R. 2019. Vacuolar sequestration of azoles: A novel strategy of azole antifungal resistance conserved across pathogenic and non-pathogenic yeast.  Antimicrob Agents Chemother. doi: 10.1128/AAC.01347-18. PMID: 30642932

Kumari, S., Kumar, M., Khandelwal, N.K., Kumari, P., Varma, M., Vishwakarma, P., Shahi, G., Sharma, S., Lynn, A.M., Prasad, R., Gaur, N.A. 2018. ABC transportome inventory of human pathogenic yeast Candida glabrata: Phylogenetic and expression analysis. PLoS One 28, 13 e0202993 PMID: 30153284

Nair, R., Khandelwal, N.K., Shariq, M., Redhu, A.K., Gaur, N.A., Shaikh, S., Prasad, R. 2018. Identification of genome-wide binding sites of heat shock factor 1, Hsf1, under basal conditions in the human pathogenic yeast, Candida albicans. AMB Express 8, 116. doi: 10.1186/s13568-018-0647-7. PMID: 30014253

Khandelwal, N.K., Sakar, P., Gaur, N.A., Chattopadhyay, A., Prasad, R. 2018. Phosphotidylserine decarboxylase governs plasma membrane fluidity and impacts drug susceptibilities of Candida albicans cells. Biochem Biophys Acta 2736, 30158-5. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamem.2018.05.016. PMID: 29856993

Khandelwal, N.K., Chauhan, N., Sarkar, P., Esquivel, B.D., Coccetti, P., Singh, A., Coste, A.T., Gupta, M., Sanglard, D., White, T.C., Chauvel, M., d’Enfert, C., Chattopadhyay, A., Gaur, NA., Mondal, A.K., Prasad R. 2018. Azole resistance in a candida albicans mutant lacking the ABC transporter CDR6/ROA1 depends on TOR signalling. J Biol Chem 293, 412-432 doi: 10.1074/jbc.M117.807032. PMID: 29158264

Dubey, R., Jakeer, S., Gaur, N.A. 2016 Screening of natural yeast isolates under the effects of stresses associated with second-generation biofuel production. J Biosci Bioeng 121, 509-516 PubMed link