Recent Advances in Heterologous Synthesis Paving Way for Future Green-Modular Bioindustries: A Review With Special Reference to Isoflavonoids

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Isoflavonoids are well-known plant secondary metabolites that have gained importance in recent time due to their multiple nutraceutical and pharmaceutical applications. In plants, isoflavonoids play a role in plant defense and can confer the host plant a competitive advantage to survive and flourish under environmental challenges. In animals, isoflavonoids have been found to interact with multiple signaling pathways and have demonstrated estrogenic, antioxidant and anti-oncologic activities in vivo. The activity of isoflavonoids in the estrogen pathways is such that the class has also been collectively called phytoestrogens. Over 2,400 isoflavonoids, predominantly from legumes, have been identified so far. The biosynthetic pathways of several key isoflavonoids have been established, and the genes and regulatory components involved in the biosynthesis have been characterized. The biosynthesis and accumulation of isoflavonoids in plants are regulated by multiple complex environmental and genetic factors and interactions. Due to this complexity of secondary metabolism regulation, the export and engineering of isoflavonoid biosynthetic pathways into non-endogenous plants are difficult, and instead, the microorganisms Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Escherichia coli have been adapted and engineered for heterologous isoflavonoid synthesis. However, the current ex-planta production approaches have been limited due to slow enzyme kinetics and traditionally laborious genetic engineering methods and require further optimization and development to address the required titers, reaction rates and yield for commercial application. With recent progress in metabolic engineering and the availability of advanced synthetic biology tools, it is envisaged that highly efficient heterologous hosts will soon be engineered to fulfill the growing market demand.

Original languageEnglish
Article number673270
JournalFrontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021


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