Using plants as hosts for production of complex, high-value compounds and therapeutic proteins has gained increasing momentum over the past decade. Recent advances in metabolic engineering techniques using synthetic biology have set the stage for production yields to become economically attractive, but more refined design strategies are required to increase product yields without compromising development and growth of the host system. The ability of plant cells to differentiate into various tissues in combination with a high level of cellular compartmentalization represents so far the most unexploited plant-specific resource. Plant cells contain organelles called plastids that retain their own genome, harbour unique biosynthetic pathways and differentiate into distinct plastid types upon environmental and developmental cues. Chloroplasts, the plastid type hosting the photosynthetic processes in green tissues, have proven to be suitable for high yield protein and bio-compound production. Unfortunately, chloroplast manipulation often affects photosynthetic efficiency and therefore plant fitness. In this respect, plastids of non-photosynthetic tissues, which have focused metabolisms for synthesis and storage of particular classes of compounds, might prove more suitable for engineering the production and storage of non-native metabolites without affecting plant fitness. This review provides the current state of knowledge on the molecular mechanisms involved in plastid differentiation and focuses on non-photosynthetic plastids as alternative biotechnological platforms for metabolic engineering.
Non-photosynthetic plastids as hosts for metabolic engineering
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Steven Gutteridge, Silas Busck Mellor, James B.Y.H. Behrendorff, Agnieszka Zygadlo Nielsen, Poul Erik Jensen, Mathias Pribil; Non-photosynthetic plastids as hosts for metabolic engineering. Essays Biochem 13 April 2018; 62 (1): 41–50. doi: https://doi.org/10.1042/EBC20170047
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