Efflux Transporters’ Engineering and Their Application in Microbial Production of Heterologous Metabolites

Muhammad Saad Ahmed, Kyle J. Lauersen, Sana Ikram, Chun Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Metabolic engineering of microbial hosts for the production of heterologous metabolites and biochemicals is an enabling technology to generate meaningful quantities of desired products that may be otherwise difficult to produce by traditional means. Heterologous metabolite production can be restricted by the accumulation of toxic products within the cell. Efflux transport proteins (transporters) provide a potential solution to facilitate the export of these products, mitigate toxic effects, and enhance production. Recent investigations using knockout lines, heterologous expression, and expression profiling of transporters have revealed candidates that can enhance the export of heterologous metabolites from microbial cell systems. Transporter engineering efforts have revealed that some exhibit flexible substrate specificity and may have broader application potentials. In this Review, the major superfamilies of efflux transporters, their mechanistic modes of action, selection of appropriate efflux transporters for desired compounds, and potential transporter engineering strategies are described for potential applications in enhancing engineered microbial metabolite production. Future studies in substrate recognition, heterologous expression, and combinatorial engineering of efflux transporters will assist efforts to enhance heterologous metabolite production in microbial hosts.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalACS Synthetic Biology
StatePublished - Mar 22 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)


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