Microbial methionine transporters and biotechnological applications

Nurul Amira Mohammad Mohany, Alessandra Totti, Keith R. Naylor, Harald Janovjak

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Abstract: Methionine (Met) is an essential amino acid with commercial value in animal feed, human nutrition, and as a chemical precursor. Microbial production of Met has seen intensive investigation towards a more sustainable alternative to the chemical synthesis that currently meets the global Met demand. Indeed, efficient Met biosynthesis has been achieved in genetically modified bacteria that harbor engineered enzymes and streamlined metabolic pathways. Very recently, the export of Met as the final step during its fermentative production has been studied and optimized, primarily through identification and expression of microbial Met efflux transporters. In this mini-review, we summarize the current knowledge on four families of Met export and import transporters that have been harnessed for the production of Met and other valuable biomolecules. These families are discussed with respect to their function, gene regulation, and biotechnological applications. We cover methods for identification and characterization of Met transporters as the basis for the further engineering of these proteins and for exploration of other solute carrier families. The available arsenal of Met transporters from different species and protein families provides blueprints not only for fermentative production but also synthetic biology systems, such as molecular sensors and cell-cell communication systems. Key points: • Sustainable production of methionine (Met) using microbes is actively explored. • Met transporters of four families increase production yield and specificity. • Further applications include other biosynthetic pathways and synthetic biology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3919–3929
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • Amino acids
  • Cell engineering
  • Fermentation
  • Membrane transport
  • Solute efflux
  • Synthetic biology

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