Discovery and engineering of a 1-butanol biosensor in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Shuobo Shi, Yook Wah Choi, Huimin Zhao, Meng How Tan, Ee Lui Ang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present study aimed to develop a universal methodology for the discovery of biosensors sensitive to particular stresses or metabolites by using a transcriptome analysis, in order to address the need for in vivo biosensors to drive the engineering of microbial cell factories. The method was successfully applied to the discovery of 1-butanol sensors. In particular, the genome-wide transcriptome profiling of S. cerevisiae exposed to three similar short-chain alcohols, 1-butanol, 1-propanol, and ethanol, identified genes that were differentially expressed only under the treatment of 1-butanol. From these candidates, two promoters that responded specifically to 1-butanol were characterized in a dose-dependent manner and were used to distinguish differences in production levels among different 1-butanol producer strains. This strategy opens up new opportunities for the discovery of promoter-based biosensors and can potentially be used to identify biosensors for any metabolite that causes cellular transcriptomic changes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1343-1351
Number of pages9
JournalBioresource Technology
StatePublished - Dec 2017


  • Biosensor
  • Butanol
  • Promoter
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • Transcriptome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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