Lighting up yeast cell factories by transcription factor-based biosensors
Our ability to rewire cellular metabolism for the sustainable production of chemicals, fuels and therapeutics based on microbial cell factories has advanced rapidly during the last two decades. Especially the speed and precision by which microbial genomes can be engineered now allow for more advanced designs to be implemented and tested. However, compared to the methods developed for engineering cell factories, the methods developed for testing the performance of newly engineered cell factories in high throughput are lagging far behind, which consequently impacts the overall biomanufacturing process. For this purpose, there is a need to develop new techniques for screening and selection of best-performing cell factory designs in multiplex. Here we review the current status of the sourcing, design and engineering of biosensors derived from allosterically regulated transcription factors applied to the biotechnology work-horse budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We conclude by providing a perspective on the most important challenges and opportunities lying ahead in order to harness the full potential of biosensor development for increasing both the throughput of cell factory development and robustness of overall bioprocesses.