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Development of a synthetic route to produce coniferyl alcohol from ferulic acid using an aldo-keto reductase from lower termite Coptotermes gestroi

Grant number: 17/23754-1
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): February 26, 2018
Effective date (End): February 25, 2019
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Biochemistry
Principal Investigator:Fábio Márcio Squina
Grantee:Robson Tramontina
Supervisor abroad: Neil Dixon
Home Institution: Pró-Reitoria de Pós-Graduação, Pesquisa, Extensão e Inovação. Universidade de Sorocaba (UNISO). Sorocaba, SP, Brazil
Local de pesquisa : University of Manchester, England  
Associated to the scholarship:16/07926-4 - Novel integrative strategies through the ALDOKETO reductase from the termite Coptotermes gestroi for detoxification, saccharification and fermentation of lignocellulose aiming bioethanol production, BP.DR

Abstract

The use of enzymes and cell-based systems is an excellent alternative to traditional chemical processes, since it can be environmentally cleaner, faster and more cost-effective. Termites are considered an excellent biological system for studying biochemical conversion of lignocellulosic biomass, because not only carbohydrate-active enzymes (CAZymes), such as cellulases, are found in the gut (both symbiotic and endogenous enzymes), but also a set of pro-oxidant, antioxidant and detoxification enzymes (PADs) were observed in the digestome. Among the PADs, our research group discovered an aldo-keto reductase (CgAKR-1) that devoted special attention, especially because it reduces several phenolic aldehydes to their respective alcohols. In addition, our collaborators, professor Neil Dixon and Nick Turner (University of Manchester) have been studying a carboxylic acid reductase (CAR) from Mycobacterium marinum, that showed reducing activity against aromatic acids found in biomass. In this sense, this BEPE project is devoted to combine our efforts and develop a synthetic route using CAR and CgAKR-1 for ferulic acid transformation into coniferyl alcohol, a highly valuable precursor of several chemical compounds. Moreover, we expect to conduct protein engineering, based on biosensors screening, to optimize the CAR and CgAKR-1 system aiming maximum coniferyl alcohol production from lignocellulosic material. The present project builds upon an existing Thematic BBSRC/FAPESP awarded by Dr. Fabio Squina, together with Dr. Tim Bugg and Dr. Neil Dixon.

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