Research • Educate • Connect
Towards a sustainable bioeconomy

Research • Educate • Connect
Towards a sustainable bioeconomy

Efficient Redox sensing and engineering for optimization of biocatalysis


Engineering efficient microbial systems to transform biomass to platform chemicals is a critical step towards a bio-based economy. While a large range of new pathways for desired products has been introduced successfully, their economic viability is often hindered by low biocatalytic efficiency. ROXENSE developed a generalizable concept to optimize biocatalytic product yield by targeting metabolic redox balance, thus contributing to a sustainable bioeconomy. The capacity for NAD recycling can be boosted by introducing an NADH-oxidase (NOX). The impact on intracellular NAD redox status can be monitored online using a novel genetically-encoded fluorescent NAD redox sensor. This unique combination of redox analysis and engineering was exemplified by optimizing itaconic acid production in the biotechnologically important fungal biocatalyst Ustilago. It was found that expression of NOX must be tightly controlled, both in its timing and in its expression level. This highlights the need for the redox sensor, which enabled a time-resolved measurement of the cellular redox status.


Participating Core Groups

Dr. Nick Wierckx,
Lehrstuhl für Angewandte Mikrobiologie, Institut für Angewandte Mikrobiologie - iAMB, RTWH Aachen University
52074 Aachen
Phone: +49 241 80 - 26649
Fax: +49 241 80 - 622180

Dr. Nick Wierckx, Thiemo Zambanini M.Sc., Prof. Dr. Lars M. Blank
, Lehrstuhl für Angewandte Mikrobiologie, RWTH Aachen University
Dr. Markus Schwarzländer, Prof. Dr. Andreas Meyer, Professur für Chemical Signaalling, Institut für Nutzpflanzenwissenschaften und Ressourcenschutz (INRES), Universität Bonn

Funding period

01.04.2015 – 31.03.2016

ROXENSE is part of the NRW-Strategieprojekt BioSC and thus funded by the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Research of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia.



Zambanini, T, Hartmann, SK, Schmitz, LM, Büttner, L, Tehrani, HH, Geiser, E, Beudels, M, Venc, D, Wandrey, G, Büchs, J, Schwarzländer, M, Blank, LM, and Wierckx, N (2017)   Promoters from the itaconate cluster of Ustilago maydis are induced by nitrogen depletion. Fungal Biol Biotechnol 4:11.