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Spotlight: Termite transcriptome analysis suggests insights into new strategies toward the biorefinery industry of lignocellulosic biofuels
Published on:2018-02-13     Visits:54
On Feb 3rd, 2018, the termite research group of our Biofuels Institute of Jiangsu University has published online the results of transcriptome analysis of a wood-feeding termite, Coptotermes formosanus, on the famous journal ¡°Biotechnology for Biofuels¡±. The title of the research article is ¡°Transcriptome analysis of the digestive system of a wood-feeding termite (Coptotermes formosanus) revealed a unique mechanism for effective biomass degradation¡±. Wood-feeding termite, Coptotermesformosanus Shiraki, represents a highly efficient system for biomass deconstruction and utilization. However, the detailed mechanisms of lignin modification and carbohydrate degradation in this system are still largely elusive. To our knowledge, this is the first report regarding of high throughput RNA-seq analysis of the four organs (salivary glands, foregut, midgut and hindgut) within a complete digestive system of a lower termite, C. formosanus. The article presents the expression profiles of the carbohydrate-active enzymes as well as auxiliary redox enzymes, both of which were important for the decomposition of lignocellulosic biomass. Most importantly, twelve newly discovered secreted auxiliary redox enzymes were found to be very likely involved in lignin modification and pretreatment, which is a crucial process for the biofuels industry. In a word, our findings demonstrate that the termite digestive system synergized the hydrolysis and redox reactions in a programmatic process, through different parts of its gut system, to achieve a maximized utilization of carbohydrates. The detailed unique mechanisms identified from the termite digestive system may provide new insights for advanced design of future biorefinery. Our further research would focus on the characterization of the important carbohydrate-active enzymes as well as auxiliary redox enzymes, and the application of them into biomass decomposition. The open access website for this article is as below: https://biotechnologyforbiofuels.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13068-018-1015-1