Featured Faculty: Mark Blenner

blennerMark Blenner, PhD, Clemson University

PROJECT TITLE: Use of High-Throughput Sequence to Understand Protein Evolution.

Trichosporon oleaginosus, formerly Cryptococcus curvatus, is a relative of the pathogen yeast, C. neoformans. We are interested in seeing how it might serve as a model for understanding pathogenicity of C. neoformans. Alternatively, we have discovered it tolerance and metabolism of aromatic compounds. Combined with its high flux through malonyl-CoA, this suggests it could be a good synthetic biology platform for the production of a wide variety of therapeutic compounds in the broad class of polyphenols and flavonoids.

SC INBRE funding enabled the collection of RNAseq data for samples of T. oleaginosus grown on different aromatics.

We have collected whole-transcriptome data for T. oleaginosus grown on phenol, 4-hydroxybenzoic acid, and resorcinol. This data provided key insights into regulatory control points in aromatic metabolism. It also gives us useful data for identifying strong promoters for synthetic biology applications.

Understanding how Trichosporon yeast metabolize aromatic compounds is important as these non-pathogenic yeast might lead to insights in pathogenicity in related yeast, such as C. neoformans. This organism may also be a good system for synthetic biology to produce a variety of therapeutically relevant polyphenols and flavonoids.


October 22, 2017