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Evolution of Aldo-Keto-Redutases (AKRs) in yeasts and their importance in fermentation for the production of second generation ethanol

Grant number: 19/08241-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2019
Effective date (End): July 31, 2020
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Genetics - Molecular Genetics and Genetics of Microorganisms
Principal Investigator:Gonçalo Amarante Guimarães Pereira
Grantee:Jéssica Faversani Diniz
Host Institution: Instituto de Biologia (IB). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil


Faced with the imminent depletion of oil, the main energy source today, the use of renewable energy sources is gaining ground. In this scenario, biofuel, coming from second generation ethanol, appears as the best alternative. But some bottlenecks in the 2G ethanol production process still need to be addressed. The use of bagasse and sugarcane straw in fermentation brings new sugars that are not naturally consumed by industrial yeasts. In a previous work carried out by the research group, which aimed at the prospecting of genes to maximize the production of 2G ethanol, positive selection marks were found in the enzyme Xylose Reductase (XR). Since this enzyme has a great participation in the metabolic pathway of xylose in the production of 2G ethanol, this project aims to better understand the enzymatic superfamily, Aldo-Keto Reductase (AKR), of which XR is a part. As the superfamily in question is present in several biological groups with different functions, its characterization in yeast as well as its functions is sought through its study, by an evolutionary bias, and thus to comprehend its role in the fermentation process of xylose. With the use of comparative genomics associated with bioinformatics, phylogenies of AKRs will be reconstructed and marks of natural selection will be sought and by understanding how evolution has acted on them it will be possible to prospect other enzymes capable of acting in the fermentation path by solving the existing bottlenecks and thus maximizing the production process of 2G ethanol.

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