RRNPP-type quorum-sensing systems regulate solvent formation, sporulation and cell motility in Clostridium saccharoperbutylacetonicum.
ABSTRACT: Background:Clostridium saccharoperbutylacetonicum N1-4 (HMT) is a strictly anaerobic, spore-forming Gram-positive bacterium capable of hyper-butanol production through the well-known acetone-butanol-ethanol fermentation process. Recently, five putative RRNPP-type QSSs (here designated as QSS1 to QSS5) were predicted in this bacterial strain, each of which comprises a putative RRNPP-type regulator (QssR1 to QssR5) and a cognate signaling peptide precursor (QssP1 to QssP5). In addition, both proteins are encoded by the same operon. The functions of these multiple RRNPP-type QSSs are unknown. Results:To elucidate the function of multiple RRNPP-type QSSs as related to cell metabolism and solvent production in N1-4 (HMT), we constructed qssR-deficient mutants ?R1, ?R2, ?R3 and ?R5 through gene deletion using CRISPR-Cas9 and N1-4-dcas9-R4 (with the QssR4 expression suppressed using CRISPR-dCas9). We also constructed complementation strains by overexpressing the corresponding regulator gene. Based on systematic characterization, results indicate that QSS1, QSS2, QSS3, and QSS5 positively regulate the sol operon expression and thus solvent production, but they likely negatively regulate cell motility. Consequently, QSS4 might not directly regulate solvent production, but positively affect cell migration. In addition, QSS3 and QSS5 appear to positively regulate sporulation efficiency. Conclusions:Our study provides the first insights into the roles of multiple RRNPP-type QSSs of C. saccharoperbutylacetonicum for the regulation of solvent production, cell motility, and sporulation. Results of this study expand our knowledge of how multiple paralogous QSSs are involved in the regulation of essential bacterial metabolism pathways.
Project description:While a majority of academic studies concerning acetone, butanol, and ethanol (ABE) production by Clostridium have focused on Clostridium acetobutylicum, other members of this genus have proven to be effective industrial workhorses despite the inability to perform genetic manipulations on many of these strains. To further improve the industrial performance of these strains in areas such as substrate usage, solvent production, and end product versatility, transformation methods and genetic tools are needed to overcome the genetic intractability displayed by these species. In this study, we present the development of a high-efficiency transformation method for the industrial butanol hyperproducer Clostridium saccharoperbutylacetonicum strain N1-4 (HMT) ATCC 27021. Following initial failures, we found that the key to creating a successful transformation method was the identification of three distinct colony morphologies (types S, R, and I), which displayed significant differences in transformability. Working with the readily transformable type I cells (transformation efficiency, 1.1 × 106 CFU/?g DNA), we performed targeted gene deletions in C. saccharoperbutylacetonicum N1-4 using a homologous recombination-mediated allelic exchange method. Using plasmid-based gene overexpression and targeted knockouts of key genes in the native acetone-butanol-ethanol (ABE) metabolic pathway, we successfully implemented rational metabolic engineering strategies, yielding in the best case an engineered strain (Clostridium saccharoperbutylacetonicum strain N1-4/pWIS13) displaying an 18% increase in butanol titers and 30% increase in total ABE titer (0.35 g ABE/g sucrose) in batch fermentations. Additionally, two engineered strains overexpressing aldehyde/alcohol dehydrogenases (encoded by adh11 and adh5) displayed 8.5- and 11.8-fold increases (respectively) in batch ethanol production. IMPORTANCE:This paper presents the first steps toward advanced genetic engineering of the industrial butanol producer Clostridium saccharoperbutylacetonicum strain N1-4 (HMT). In addition to providing an efficient method for introducing foreign DNA into this species, we demonstrate successful rational engineering for increasing solvent production. Examples of future applications of this work include metabolic engineering for improving desirable industrial traits of this species and heterologous gene expression for expanding the end product profile to include high-value fuels and chemicals.
Project description:Clostridium saccharoperbutylacetonicum N1-4 is well known as a hyper-butanol-producing strain. However, the lack of genetic engineering tools hinders further elucidation of its solvent production mechanism and development of more robust strains. In this study, we set out to develop an efficient genome engineering system for this microorganism based on the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) and CRISPR-associated 9 (CRISPR-Cas9) system. First, the functionality of the CRISPR-Cas9 system previously customized for Clostridium beijerinckii was evaluated in C. saccharoperbutylacetonicum by targeting pta and buk, two essential genes for acetate and butyrate production, respectively. pta and buk single and double deletion mutants were successfully obtained based on this system. However, the genome engineering efficiency was rather low (the mutation rate is <20%). Therefore, the efficiency was further optimized by evaluating various promoters for guide RNA (gRNA) expression. With promoter P J23119 , we achieved a mutation rate of 75% for pta deletion without serial subculturing as suggested previously for C. beijerinckii Thus, this developed CRISPR-Cas9 system is highly desirable for efficient genome editing in C. saccharoperbutylacetonicum Batch fermentation results revealed that both the acid and solvent production profiles were altered due to the disruption of acid production pathways; however, neither acetate nor butyrate production was eliminated with the deletion of the corresponding gene. The butanol production, yield, and selectivity were improved in mutants, depending on the fermentation medium. In the pta buk double deletion mutant, the butanol production in P2 medium reached 19.0 g/liter, which is one of the highest levels ever reported from batch fermentations.IMPORTANCE An efficient CRISPR-Cas9 genome engineering system was developed for C. saccharoperbutylacetonicum N1-4. This paves the way for elucidating the solvent production mechanism in this hyper-butanol-producing microorganism and developing strains with desirable butanol-producing features. This tool can be easily adapted for use in closely related microorganisms. As also reported by others, here we demonstrated with solid data that the highly efficient expression of gRNA is the key factor determining the efficiency of CRISPR-Cas9 for genome editing. The protocol developed in this study can provide essential references for other researchers who work in the areas of metabolic engineering and synthetic biology. The developed mutants can be used as excellent starting strains for development of more robust ones for desirable solvent production.
Project description:The strictly anaerobic bacterium Clostridium acetobutylicum is well known for its ability to convert sugars into organic acids and solvents, most notably the potential biofuel butanol. However, the regulation of its fermentation metabolism, in particular the shift from acid to solvent production, remains poorly understood. The aim of this study was to investigate whether cell-cell communication plays a role in controlling the timing of this shift or the extent of solvent formation. Analysis of the available C. acetobutylicum genome sequences revealed the presence of eight putative RRNPP-type quorum-sensing systems, here designated qssA to qssH, each consisting of an RRNPP-type regulator gene followed by a small open reading frame encoding a putative signalling peptide precursor. The identified regulator and signal peptide precursor genes were designated qsrA to qsrH and qspA to qspH, respectively. Triplicate regulator mutants were generated in strain ATCC 824 for each of the eight systems and screened for phenotypic changes. The qsrB mutants showed increased solvent formation during early solventogenesis and hence the QssB system was selected for further characterization. Overexpression of qsrB severely reduced solvent and endospore formation and this effect could be overcome by adding short synthetic peptides to the culture medium representing a specific region of the QspB signalling peptide precursor. In addition, overexpression of qspB increased the production of acetone and butanol and the initial (48?h) titre of heat-resistant endospores. Together, these findings establish a role for QssB quorum sensing in the regulation of early solventogenesis and sporulation in C. acetobutylicum.
Project description:The solventogenic clostridia have long been known for their ability to convert sugars from complex feedstocks into commercially important solvents. Although the acetone-butanol-ethanol process fell out of favour decades ago, renewed interest in sustainability and 'green' chemistry has re-established our appetite for reviving technologies such as these, albeit with 21st century improvements. As CRISPR-Cas genome editing tools are being developed and applied to the solventogenic clostridia, their industrial potential is growing. Through integration of new pathways, the beneficial traits and historical track record of clostridial fermentation can be exploited to generate a much wider range of industrially relevant products. Here we show the application of genome editing using the endogenous CRISPR-Cas mechanism of Clostridium saccharoperbutylacetonicum N1-4(HMT), to generate a deletion, SNP and to integrate new DNA into the genome. These technological advancements pave the way for application of clostridial species to the production of an array of products.
Project description:We have developed butanol-producing consolidated bioprocessing from cellulosic substrates through coculture of cellulolytic clostridia and butanol-producing <i>Clostridium saccharoperbutylacetonicum</i> strain N1-4. However, the butanol fermentation by strain N1-4 (which has an optimal growth temperature of 30°C) is sensitive to the higher cultivation temperature of 37°C; the nature of this deleterious effect remains unclear. Comparison of the intracellular metabolites of strain N1-4 cultivated at 30°C and 37°C revealed decreased levels of multiple primary metabolites (notably including nucleic acids and cofactors) during growth at the higher temperature. Supplementation of the culture medium with 250 mg/liter adenine enhanced both cell growth (with the optical density at 600 nm increasing from 4.3 to 10.2) and butanol production (increasing from 3.9 g/liter to 9.6 g/liter) at 37°C, compared to those obtained without adenine supplementation, such that the supplemented 37°C culture exhibited growth and butanol production approaching those observed at 30°C in the absence of adenine supplementation. These improved properties were based on the maintenance of cell viability. We further showed that adenine supplementation enhanced cell viability during growth at 37°C by maintaining ATP levels and inhibiting spore formation. This work represents the first demonstration (to our knowledge) of the importance of adenine-related metabolism for clostridial butanol production, suggesting a new means of enhancing target pathways based on metabolite levels.<b>IMPORTANCE</b> Metabolomic analysis revealed decreased levels of multiple primary metabolites during growth at 37°C, compared to 30°C, in <i>C. saccharoperbutylacetonicum</i> strain N1-4. We found that adenine supplementation restored the cell growth and butanol production of strain N1-4 at 37°C. The effects of adenine supplementation reflected the maintenance of cell viability originating from the maintenance of ATP levels and the inhibition of spore formation. Thus, our metabolomic analysis identified the depleted metabolites that were required to maintain cell viability. Our strategy, which is expected to be applicable to a wide range of organisms, permits the identification of the limiting metabolic pathway, which can serve as a new target for molecular breeding. The other novel finding of this work is that adenine supplementation inhibits clostridial spore formation. The mechanism linking spore formation and metabolomic status in butanol-producing clostridia is expected to be the focus of further research.
Project description:Biobutanol is a valuable biochemical and one of the most promising biofuels. <i>Clostridium saccharoperbutylacetonicum</i> N1-4 is a hyperbutanol-producing strain. However, its strong autolytic behavior leads to poor cell stability, especially during continuous fermentation, thus limiting the applicability of the strain for long-term and industrial-scale processes. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the role of autolysin genes within the <i>C. saccharoperbutylacetonicum</i> genome related to cell autolysis and further develop more stable strains for enhanced butanol production. First, putative autolysin-encoding genes were identified in the strain based on comparison of amino acid sequence with homologous genes in other strains. Then, by overexpressing all these putative autolysin genes individually and characterizing the corresponding recombinant strains, four key genes were pinpointed to be responsible for significant cell autolysis activities. Further, these key genes were deleted using CRISPR-Cas9. Fermentation characterization demonstrated enhanced performance of the resultant mutants. Results from this study reveal valuable insights concerning the role of autolysins for cell stability and solvent production, and they provide an essential reference for developing robust strains for enhanced biofuel and biochemical production.<b>IMPORTANCE</b> Severe autolytic behavior is a common issue in <i>Clostridium</i> and many other microorganisms. This study revealed the key genes responsible for the cell autolysis within <i>Clostridium saccharoperbutylacetonicum</i>, a prominent platform for biosolvent production from lignocellulosic materials. The knowledge generated in this study provides insights concerning cell autolysis in relevant microbial systems and gives essential references for enhancing strain stability through rational genome engineering.
Project description:Clostridium saccharoperbutylacetonicum N1-4 (Csa) is a historically significant anaerobic bacterium which can perform saccharolytic fermentations to produce acetone, butanol, and ethanol (ABE). Recent genomic analyses have highlighted this organism's potential to produce polyketide and nonribosomal peptide secondary metabolites, but little is known regarding the identity and function of these metabolites. This study provides a detailed bioinformatic analysis of seven biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) present in the Csa genome that are predicted to produce polyketides/nonribosomal peptides. An RNA-seq-based untargeted transcriptomic approach revealed that five of seven BGCs were expressed during ABE fermentation. Additional characterization of a highly expressed nonribosomal peptide synthetase gene led to the discovery of its associated metabolite and its biosynthetic pathway. Transcriptomic analysis suggested an association of this nonribosomal peptide synthetase gene with butanol tolerance, which was supported by butanol challenge assays.
Project description:Clostridium saccharoperbutylacetonicum strain DSM 14923 is known as a butanol-producing bacterium. Various organic compounds such as glucose, fructose, sucrose, mannose, and cellobiose are fermented. The genome consists of one chromosome and one circular megaplasmid. C. saccharoperbutylacetonicum was used in industrial fermentation processes to produce the solvents acetone, butanol, and ethanol.
Project description:Using gene expression reporter vectors, we examined the activity of the spoIIE promoter in wild-type and spo0A-deleted strains of Clostridium acetobutylicum ATCC 824. In wild-type cells, the spoIIE promoter is active in a transient manner during late solventogenesis, but in strain SKO1, where the sporulation initiator spo0A is disrupted, no spoIIE promoter activity is detectable at any stage of growth. Strains 824(pMSpo) and 824(pASspo) were created to overexpress spoIIE and to decrease spoIIE expression via antisense RNA targeted against spoIIE, respectively. Some cultures of strains 824(pMSpo) degenerated during fermentations by losing the pSOL1 megaplasmid and hence did not produce the solvents ethanol, acetone, and butanol. The frequent degeneration event was shown to require an intact copy of spoIIE. Nondegenerate cultures of 824(pMSpo) exhibited normal growth and solvent production. Strain 824(pASspo) exhibited prolonged solventogenesis characterized by increased production of ethanol (225%), acetone (43%), and butanol (110%). Sporulation in strains harboring pASspo was significantly delayed, with sporulating cells exhibiting altered morphology. These results suggest that SpoIIE has no direct effect on the control of solventogenesis and that the changes in solvent production in spoIIE-downregulated cells are mediated by effects on the cell during sporulation.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Clostridium acetobutylicum, a gram-positive and spore-forming anaerobe, is a major strain for the fermentative production of acetone, butanol and ethanol. But a previously isolated hyper-butanol producing strain C. acetobutylicum EA 2018 does not produce spores and has greater capability of solvent production, especially for butanol, than the type strain C. acetobutylicum ATCC 824. RESULTS: Complete genome of C. acetobutylicum EA 2018 was sequenced using Roche 454 pyrosequencing. Genomic comparison with ATCC 824 identified many variations which may contribute to the hyper-butanol producing characteristics in the EA 2018 strain, including a total of 46 deletion sites and 26 insertion sites. In addition, transcriptomic profiling of gene expression in EA 2018 relative to that of ATCC824 revealed expression-level changes of several key genes related to solvent formation. For example, spo0A and adhEII have higher expression level, and most of the acid formation related genes have lower expression level in EA 2018. Interestingly, the results also showed that the variation in CEA_G2622 (CAC2613 in ATCC 824), a putative transcriptional regulator involved in xylose utilization, might accelerate utilization of substrate xylose. CONCLUSIONS: Comparative analysis of C. acetobutylicum hyper-butanol producing strain EA 2018 and type strain ATCC 824 at both genomic and transcriptomic levels, for the first time, provides molecular-level understanding of non-sporulation, higher solvent production and enhanced xylose utilization in the mutant EA 2018. The information could be valuable for further genetic modification of C. acetobutylicum for more effective butanol production.