Identification and Investigation of Autolysin Genes in Clostridium saccharoperbutylacetonicum Strain N1-4 for Enhanced Biobutanol Production.
ABSTRACT: Biobutanol is a valuable biochemical and one of the most promising biofuels. Clostridium saccharoperbutylacetonicum 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 C. saccharoperbutylacetonicum 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.IMPORTANCE Severe autolytic behavior is a common issue in Clostridium and many other microorganisms. This study revealed the key genes responsible for the cell autolysis within Clostridium saccharoperbutylacetonicum, 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:Autolysis of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) plays a vital role in dairy processing. During cheese making, autolysis of LAB affects cheese flavor development through release of intracellular enzymes and restricts the proliferation of cells in yogurt fermentation and probiotics production. In order to explore the mechanism of autolysis, the gene for the autolytic enzymes of L. bulgaricus, N-acetylmuramidase (mur), was cloned and sequenced (GenBank accession number: KF157911). Mur gene overexpression and gene knockout vectors were constructed based on pMG76e and pUC19 vectors. Recombinant plasmids were transformed into L. bulgaricus ljj-6 by electroporation, then three engineered strains with pMG76e-mur vector and fifteen engineered strains with pUC19-mur::EryBII were screened. The autolysis of the mur knockout strain was significantly lower and autolysis of the mur overexpressed strain was significantly higher compared with that of the wild type strain ljj-6. This result suggested that the mur gene played an important role in autolysis of L. bulgaricus. On the other hand, autolytic activity in a low degree was still observed in the mur knockout strain, which implied that other enzymes but autolysin encoded by mur were also involved in autolysis of L. bulgaricus.
Project description:Peptidoglycan (PG) and wall teichoic acid (WTA) are the major staphylococcal cell wall components, and WTA biosynthesis has recently been explored for drug development. Targocil is a novel agent that targets the TarG subunit of the WTA translocase (TarGH) that transports WTA across the membrane to the wall. Previously we showed that targocil treatment of a methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus strain led to a rapid shut down of cellular autolysis. Targocil II, which targets the TarH subunit of TarGH, also resulted in a drastic decrease in autolysis. Here, we address the mechanism of targocil-mediated decreased autolysis. The mechanism is WTA dependent since targocil treatment decreased autolysis in methicillin-resistant strains but not in a WTA-deficient mutant. Similar to cellular autolysis, autolysin-retaining crude cell walls isolated from targocil-treated cells had vastly decreased autolytic activity compared to those from untreated cells. Purified cell walls from control and targocil-treated cells, which lack autolytic activity, were similarly susceptible to lysozyme and lysostaphin and had similar O-acetyl contents, indicating that targocil treatment did not grossly alter PG structure and chemistry. Purified cell walls from targocil-treated cells were highly susceptible to autolysin extracts, supporting the notion that targocil treatment led to decreased autolysin in the crude cell walls. Quantitative real-time PCR analysis revealed that the decrease in autolysis in the targocil-exposed cells was not due to transcriptional repression of the autolysin genes atl, lytM, lytN, and sle1 Zymographic analysis of peptidoglycan hydrolase profiles showed a deficiency of cell surface autolysins in targocil-treated cells but higher activity in cell membrane fractions. Here, we propose that the untranslocated WTA molecules in the targocil-exposed cells sequester Atl at the membrane, resulting in significantly decreased autolysis.
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:The molecular basis of glycopeptide-intermediate S. aureus (GISA) isolates is not well defined though frequently involves phenotypes such as thickened cell walls and decreased autolysis. We have exploited an isogenic pair of teicoplanin-susceptible (strain MRGR3) and teicoplanin-resistant (strain 14-4) methicillin-resistant S. aureus strains for detailed transcriptomic profiling and analysis of altered autolytic properties. Strain 14-4 displayed markedly deficient Triton X-100-triggered autolysis compared to its teicoplanin-susceptible parent, although microarray analysis paradoxically did not reveal significant reductions in expression levels of major autolytic genes atl, lytM, and lytN, except for sle1, which showed a slight decrease. The most important paradox was a more-than-twofold increase in expression of the cidABC operon in 14-4 compared to MRGR3, which was correlated with decreased expression of autolysis negative regulators lytSR and lrgAB. In contrast, the autolysis-deficient phenotype of 14-4 was correlated with both increased expression of negative autolysis regulators (arlRS, mgrA, and sarA) and decreased expression of positive regulators (agr RNAII and RNAIII). Quantitative bacteriolytic assays and zymographic analysis of concentrated culture supernatants showed a striking reduction in Atl-derived, extracellular bacteriolytic hydrolase activities in 14-4 compared to MRGR3. This observed difference was independent of the source of cell wall substrate (MRGR3 or 14-4) used for analysis. Collectively, our results suggest that altered autolytic properties in 14-4 are apparently not driven by significant changes in the transcription of key autolytic effectors. Instead, our analysis points to alternate regulatory mechanisms that impact autolysis effectors which may include changes in posttranscriptional processing or export.
Project description:Sodium houttuyfonate (SH), an addition compound of sodium bisulfite and houttuynin, showed in vitro antibacterial activity against 21 Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) strains grown in planktonic cultures. Microarray results showed decreased levels of autolysin atl, sle1, cidA and lytN transcripts in the SH-treated strain as compared to the control strain, consistent with the induction of the autolytic repressors lrgAB and sarA and with the downregulation of the positive regulators agrA and RNAIII. Triton X-100-induced autolysis was significantly decreased by SH in S. aureus ATCC 25923, and quantitative bacteriolytic assays and zymographic analysis demonstrated SH-mediated reduction of extracellular murein hydrolase activity in these cells. Anti-biofilm assay showed that SH is poorly active against S. aureus grown in biofilm cultures, whereas SH diminished the amounts of extracellular DNA (eDNA) of S. aureus in a dose-dependent manner, which suggested that SH may impede biofilm formation by reducing the expression of cidA to inhibit autolysis and eDNA release in the early phase. Some of the microarray results were confirmed by real-time RT-PCR.
Project description:Streptococcus suis serotype 2 (S. suis 2) is an important swine and human pathogen responsible for septicemia and meningitis. A novel gene, designated atl and encoding a major autolysin of S. suis 2 virulent strain HA9801, was identified and characterized in this study. The Atl protein contains 1,025 amino acids with a predicted molecular mass of 113 kDa and has a conserved N-acetylmuramoyl-l-alanine amidase domain. Recombinant Atl was expressed in Escherichia coli, and its bacteriolytic and fibronectin-binding activities were confirmed by zymography and Western affinity blotting. Two bacteriolytic bands were shown in the sodium dodecyl sulfate extracts of HA9801, while both were absent from the atl inactivated mutant. Cell chains of the mutant strain became longer than that of the parental strain. In the autolysis assay, HA9801 decreased to 20% of the initial optical density (OD) value, while the mutant strain had almost no autolytic activity. The biofilm capacity of the atl mutant was reduced ?30% compared to the parental strain. In the zebrafish infection model, the 50% lethal dose of the mutant strain was increased up to 5-fold. Furthermore, the adherence to HEp-2 cells of the atl mutant was 50% less than that of the parental strain. Based on the functional analysis of the recombinant Atl and observed effects of atl inactivation on HA9801, we conclude that Atl is a major autolysin of HA9801. It takes part in cell autolysis, separation of daughter cells, biofilm formation, fibronectin-binding activity, cell adhesion, and pathogenesis of HA9801.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Lactobacillus plantarum is commonly used in industrial fermentation processes. Selected strains are also marketed as probiotics for their health beneficial effects. Although the functional role of peptidoglycan-degrading enzymes is increasingly documented to be important for a range of bacterial processes and host-microbe interactions, little is known about their functional roles in lactobacilli. This knowledge holds important potential for developing more robust strains resistant to autolysis under stress conditions as well as peptidoglycan engineering for a better understanding of the contribution of released muramyl-peptides as probiotic immunomodulators. RESULTS: Here, we explored the functional role of the predicted peptidoglycan hydrolase (PGH) complement encoded in the genome of L. plantarum by systematic gene deletion. From twelve predicted PGH-encoding genes, nine could be individually inactivated and their corresponding mutant strains were characterized regarding their cell morphology, growth, and autolysis under various conditions. From this analysis, we identified two PGHs, the predicted N-acetylglucosaminidase Acm2 and NplC/P60 D,L-endopeptidase LytA, as key determinants in the morphology of L. plantarum. Acm2 was demonstrated to be required for the ultimate step of cell separation of daughter cells, whereas LytA appeared to be required for cell shape maintenance and cell-wall integrity. We also showed by autolysis experiments that both PGHs are involved in the global autolytic process with a dominant role for Acm2 in all tested conditions, identifying Acm2 as the major autolysin of L. plantarum WCFS1. In addition, Acm2 and the putative N-acetylmuramidase Lys2 were shown to play redundant roles in both cell separation and autolysis under stress conditions. Finally, the analysis of the peptidoglycan composition of Acm2- and LytA-deficient derivatives revealed their potential hydrolytic activities by the disappearance of specific cleavage products. CONCLUSION: In this study, we showed that two PGHs of L. plantarum have a predominant physiological role in a range of growth conditions. We demonstrate that the N-acetylglucosaminidase Acm2 is the major autolysin whereas the D,L-endopeptidase LytA is a key morphogenic determinant. In addition, both PGHs have a direct impact on PG structure by generating a higher diversity of cleavage products that could be of importance for interaction with the innate immune system.
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:<h4>Background</h4>The targeting of Staphylococcus aureus biofilm structures are now gaining interest as an alternative strategy for developing new types of antimicrobial agents. Magnolol (MOL) shows inhibitory activity against S. aureus biofilms and Triton X-100-induced autolysis in vitro, although there are no data regarding the molecular mechanisms of MOL action in bacteria.<h4>Methodology/principal findings</h4>The molecular basis of the markedly reduced autolytic phenotype and biofilm inhibition triggered by MOL were explored using transcriptomic analysis, and the transcription of important genes were verified by real-time RT-PCR. The inhibition of autolysis by MOL was evaluated using quantitative bacteriolytic assays and zymographic analysis, and antibiofilm activity assays and confocal laser scanning microscopy were used to elucidate the inhibition of biofilm formation caused by MOL in 20 clinical isolates or standard strains. The reduction in cidA, atl, sle1, and lytN transcript levels following MOL treatment was consistent with the induced expression of their autolytic repressors lrgA, lrgB, arlR, and sarA. MOL generally inhibited or reversed the expression of most of the genes involved in biofilm production. The growth of S. aureus strain ATCC 25923 in the presence of MOL dose-dependently led to decreases in Triton X-100-induced autolysis, extracellular murein hydrolase activity, and the amount of extracellular DNA (eDNA). MOL may impede biofilm formation by reducing the expression of cidA, a murein hydrolase regulator, to inhibit autolysis and eDNA release, or MOL may directly repress biofilm formation.<h4>Conclusions/significance</h4>MOL shows in vitro antimicrobial activity against clinical and standard S. aureus strains grown in planktonic and biofilm cultures, suggesting that the structure of MOL may potentially be used as a basis for the development of drugs targeting biofilms.
Project description:Analysis of autolysis of derivatives of Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris MG1363 and subsp. lactis IL1403, both lacking the major autolysin AcmA, showed that L. lactis IL1403 still lysed during growth while L. lactis MG1363 did not. Zymographic analysis revealed that a peptidoglycan hydrolase activity of around 30 kDa is present in cell extracts of L. lactis IL1403 that could not be detected in strain MG1363. A comparison of all genes encoding putative peptidoglycan hydrolases of IL1403 and MG1363 led to the assumption that one or more of the 99 % homologous 27.9-kDa endolysins encoded by the prophages bIL285, bIL286 and bIL309 could account for the autolysis phenotype of IL1403. Induced expression of the endolysins from bIL285, bIL286 or bIL309 in L. lactis MG1363 resulted in detectable lysis or lytic activity. Prophage deletion and insertion derivatives of L. lactis IL1403 had a reduced cell lysis phenotype. RT-qPCR and zymogram analysis showed that each of these strains still expressed one or more of the three phage lysins. A homologous gene and an endolysin activity were also identified in the natural starter culture L. lactis subsp. cremoris strains E8, Wg2 and HP, and the lytic activity could be detected under growth conditions that were identical as those used for IL1403. The results presented here show that these endolysins of L. lactis are expressed during normal growth and contribute to autolysis without production of (lytic) phages. Screening for natural strains expressing homologous endolysins could help in the selection of strains with enhanced autolysis and, thus, cheese ripening properties.