Engineering a tunable bicistronic TetR autoregulation expression system in Gluconobacter oxydans.
ABSTRACT: Acetic acid bacteria are well-known for their ability to incompletely oxidize their carbon sources. Many of the products of these oxidations find industrial uses. Metabolic engineering of acetic acid bacteria would improve production efficiency and yield by allowing controllable gene expression. However, the molecular tools necessary for regulating gene expression have only recently started being explored. To this end the ability of the activation-dependent Plux system and two constitutive repression Ptet systems were examined for their ability to modulate gene expression in Gluconobacter oxydans. The activation-dependent Plux system increased gene expression approximately 5-fold regardless of the strength of the constitutive promoter used to express the luxR transcriptional activator. The Ptet system was tunable and had a nearly 20-fold induction when the tetR gene was expressed from the strong constitutive promoters P0169 and P264, but only had a 4-fold induction when a weak constitutive promoter (P452) was used for tetR expression. However, the Ptet system was somewhat leaky when uninduced. To mitigate this background activity, a bicistronic TetR expression system was constructed. Based on molecular modeling, this system is predicted to have low background activity when not induced with anhydrotetracycline. The bicistronic system was inducible up to >3,000-fold and was highly tunable with almost no background expression when uninduced, making this bicistronic system potentially useful for engineering G. oxydans and possibly other acetic acid bacteria. These expression systems add to the newly growing repertoire of suitable regulatable promoter systems in acetic acid bacteria.
Project description:For the acetic acid bacterium (AAB) Gluconobacter oxydans only recently the first tight system for regulatable target gene expression became available based on the heterologous repressor-activator protein AraC from Escherichia coli and the target promoter P<sub>araBAD</sub>. In this study, we tested pure repressor-based TetR- and LacI-dependent target gene expression in G. oxydans by applying the same plasmid backbone and construction principles that we have used successfully for the araC-P<sub>araBAD</sub> system. When using a pBBR1MCS-5-based plasmid, the non-induced basal expression of the Tn10-based TetR-dependent expression system was extremely low. This allowed calculated induction ratios of up to more than 3500-fold with the fluorescence reporter protein mNeonGreen (mNG). The induction was highly homogeneous and tunable by varying the anhydrotetracycline concentration from 10 to 200 ng/mL. The already strong reporter gene expression could be doubled by inserting the ribosome binding site AGGAGA into the 3' region of the P<sub>tet</sub> sequence upstream from mNG. Alternative plasmid constructs used as controls revealed a strong influence of transcription terminators and antibiotics resistance gene of the plasmid backbone on the resulting expression performance. In contrast to the TetR-P<sub>tet</sub>-system, pBBR1MCS-5-based LacI-dependent expression from P<sub>lacUV5</sub> always exhibited some non-induced basal reporter expression and was therefore tunable only up to 40-fold induction by IPTG. The leakiness of P<sub>lacUV5</sub> when not induced was independent of potential read-through from the lacI promoter. Protein-DNA binding simulations for pH 7, 6, 5, and 4 by computational modeling of LacI, TetR, and AraC with DNA suggested a decreased DNA binding of LacI when pH is below 6, the latter possibly causing the leakiness of LacI-dependent systems hitherto tested in AAB. In summary, the expression performance of the pBBR1MCS-5-based TetR-P<sub>tet</sub> system makes this system highly suitable for applications in G. oxydans and possibly in other AAB. KEY POINTS: • A pBBR1MCS-5-based TetR-P<sub>tet</sub> system was tunable up to more than 3500-fold induction. • A pBBR1MCS-5-based LacI-P<sub>lacUV5</sub> system was leaky and tunable only up to 40-fold. • Modeling of protein-DNA binding suggested decreased DNA binding of LacI at pH < 6.
Project description:<h4>Purpose</h4>In the programming of tumor-targeting bacteria, various therapeutic or reporter genes are expressed by different gene-triggering strategies. Previously, we engineered pJL87 plasmid with an inducible bacterial drug delivery system that simultaneously co-expressed two genes for therapy and imaging by a bidirectional tet promoter system only in response to the administration of exogenous doxycycline (Doxy). In this multi-cassette expression approach, tetA promoter (P<sub>tetA</sub>) was 100-fold higher in expression strength than tetR promoter (P<sub>tetR</sub>). In the present study, we developed pJH18 plasmid with novel Doxy-inducible gene expression system based on a tet promoter.<h4>Procedures</h4>In this system, Tet repressor (TetR) expressed by a weak constitutive promoter binds to tetO operator, resulting in the tight repression of gene expressions by P<sub>tetA</sub> and P<sub>tetR</sub>, and Doxy releases TetR from tetO to de-repress P<sub>tetA</sub> and P<sub>tetR</sub>.<h4>Results</h4>In Salmonella transformed with pJH18, the expression balance of bidirectional tet promoters in pJH18 was remarkably improved (P<sub>tetA</sub>:P<sub>tetR</sub> = 4~6:1) compared with that of pJL87 (P<sub>tetA</sub>:P<sub>tetR</sub> = 100:1) in the presence of Doxy. Also, the expression level by novel tet system was much higher in Salmonella transformed with pJH18 than in those with pJL87 (80-fold in rluc8 and 5-fold in clyA). Interestingly, pJH18 of the transformed Salmonella was much more stably maintained than pJL87 in antibiotic-free tumor-bearing mice (about 41-fold), because only pJH18 carries bom sequence with an essential role in preventing the plasmid-free population of programmed Salmonella from undergoing cell division.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Overall, doxycycline-induced co-expression of two proteins at similar expression levels, we exploited bioluminescence reporter proteins with preclinical but no clinical utility. Future validation with clinically compatible reporter systems, for example, suitable for radionuclide imaging, is necessary to develop this system further towards potential clinical application.
Project description:Regenerative dental therapies for bone tissues rely on efficient targeting of endogenous and transplanted mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to guide bone formation. Amelogenin is the primary component of Emdogain, which is used to regenerate periodontal defects; however, the mechanisms underlying the therapeutic effects on alveolar bone remain unclear. The tetracycline (Tet)-dependent transcriptional regulatory system is a good candidate to investigate distinct roles of genes of interest during stem cell differentiation. Here, we investigated amelogenin-dependent regulation of osteogenesis in MSCs by establishing a Tet-controlled transcriptional activation system. Clonal mouse bone marrow-derived MSCs were lentivirally transduced with the Tet repressor (TetR) expression vector followed by drug selection to obtain MSCs constitutively expressing TetR (MSCs-TetR). Expression vectors that contained the Tet operator and amelogenin-coding (Amelx) cDNA fragments were constructed using the Gateway system and lentivirally introduced into MSCs-TetR to generate a Tet regulation system in MSCs (MSCs-TetR/Amelx). MSCs-TetR/Amelx significantly overexpressed the Amelx gene and protein in the presence of the tetracycline derivative doxycycline. Concomitant expression of osterix, bone sialoprotein (BSP), osteopontin, and osteocalcin was modulated by addition or removal of doxycycline under osteogenic guidance. During osteogenic induction, MSCs-TetR/Amelx treated with doxycycline showed significantly increased gene expression of osterix, type I collagen, BSP, and osteocalcin in addition to increased alkaline phosphatase activity and mineralized nodule formation. Enhanced extracellular matrix calcification was observed when forced Amelx expression commenced at the early stage but not at the intermediate or late stages of osteogenesis. These results suggest that a Tet-controlled Amelx gene regulation system for mouse MSCs was successfully established, in which transcriptional activation of Amelx was associated with enhanced osteogenic differentiation, especially in the early stage of biomineralization.
Project description:The acetic acid bacterium <i>Gluconobacter oxydans</i> is known for its unique incomplete oxidation and therefore widely applied in the industrial production of many compounds, e.g., 2-keto-L-gulonic acid (2-KLG), the direct precursor of vitamin C. However, few molecular tools are available for metabolically engineering <i>G. oxydans</i>, which greatly limit the strain development. Promoters are one of vital components to control and regulate gene expression at the transcriptional level for boosting production. In this study, the low activity of SDH was found to hamper the high yield of 2-KLG, and enhancing the expression of SDH was achieved by screening the suitable promoters based on RNA sequencing data. We obtained 97 promoters from <i>G. oxydans</i>'s genome, including two strong shuttle promoters and six strongest promoters. Among these promoters, P<sub>3022</sub> and P<sub>0943</sub> revealed strong activities in both <i>Escherichia coli</i> and <i>G. oxydans</i>, and the activity of the strongest promoter (P<sub>2703</sub>) was about threefold that of the other reported strong promoters of <i>G. oxydans</i>. These promoters were used to overexpress SDH in <i>G. oxydans</i> WSH-003. The titer of 2-KLG reached 3.7 g/L when SDH was under the control of strong promoters P<sub>2057</sub> and P<sub>2703</sub>. This study obtained a series of gradient promoters, including two strong shuttle promoters, and expanded the toolbox of available promoters for the application in metabolic engineering of <i>G. oxydans</i> for high-value products.
Project description:Agrobacterium tumefaciens C58 and its derivatives give rise to spontaneous mutants resistant to tetracycline at a high frequency. We observed that a mutation affecting a tRNA processing function significantly affected the emergence of such mutants, suggesting that C58 contained a positively acting gene conferring resistance to tetracycline. A cosmid clone conferring resistance to tetracycline in Escherichia coli and Agrobacterium was isolated from a genomic bank of one such mutant. Subcloning, transposon mutagenesis, and DNA sequence analysis revealed that this DNA fragment contained two divergently transcribed genes, tetA and tetR, encoding products that were very similar to proteins of the Tet(A) class of tetracycline resistance systems. In the clone from this mutant, tetR was disrupted by an IS426. The homologous region from wild-type NT1 contained an intact tetR gene and did not confer resistance to tetracycline. Hybridization analysis showed that of 22 members of the genus Agrobacterium surveyed, only strains C58 and T37 contained the tet determinant. Moreover, only these two strains mutated to resistance to this antibiotic. Unlike other Tet(A) systems, neither tetracycline nor a series of its derivatives induced the expression of this tet gene unit. Other polycyclic compounds, including many of plant origin, also did not induce this tet gene system. The divergent promoter region of this tet system contained a single inverted repeat element identical to one such operator repeat in the promoter region of the tet determinant from the IncP1alpha R plasmid RP4. TetR repressor proteins from the Agrobacterium tet system and from RP4 interacted with the heterologous operators. While the repressive effect of the TetR protein from strain C58 (TetRC58) on the tetA gene from strain RP4 (tetARP4) was not relieved by tetracycline, repression of tetAC58 by TetRRP4 was lifted by this antibiotic.
Project description:There are a number of genetic tools available for studying Francisella tularensis, the etiological agent of tularemia; however, there is no effective inducible or repressible gene expression system. Here, we describe inducible and repressible gene expression systems for F. tularensis based on the Tet repressor, TetR. For the inducible system, a tet operator sequence was cloned into a modified F. tularensis groESL promoter sequence and carried in a plasmid that constitutively expressed TetR. To monitor regulation the luminescence operon, luxCDABE, was cloned under the hybrid Francisella tetracycline-regulated promoter (FTRp), and transcription was initiated with addition of anhydrotetracycline (ATc), which binds TetR and alleviates TetR association with tetO. Expression levels measured by luminescence correlated with ATc inducer concentrations ranging from 20 to 250 ng ml(-1). In the absence of ATc, luminescence was below the level of detection. The inducible system was also functional during the infection of J774A.1 macrophages, as determined by both luminescence and rescue of a mutant strain with an intracellular growth defect. The repressible system consists of FTRp regulated by a reverse TetR mutant (revTetR), TetR r1.7. Using this system with the lux reporter, the addition of ATc resulted in decreased luminescence, while in the absence of ATc the level of luminescence was not significantly different from that of a construct lacking TetR r1.7. Utilizing both systems, the essentiality of SecA, the protein translocase ATPase, was confirmed, establishing that they can effectively regulate gene expression. These two systems will be invaluable in exploring F. tularensis protein function.
Project description:The acetic acid bacterium (AAB) Gluconobacter oxydans incompletely oxidizes a wide variety of carbohydrates and is therefore used industrially for oxidative biotransformations. For G. oxydans, no system was available that allows regulatable plasmid-based expression. We found that the L-arabinose-inducible PBAD promoter and the transcriptional regulator AraC from Escherichia coli MC4100 performed very well in G. oxydans. The respective pBBR1-based plasmids showed very low basal expression of the reporters ?-glucuronidase and mNeonGreen, up to 480-fold induction with 1% L-arabinose, and tunability from 0.1 to 1% L-arabinose. In G. oxydans 621H, L-arabinose was oxidized by the membrane-bound glucose dehydrogenase, which is absent in the multi-deletion strain BP.6. Nevertheless, AraC-PBAD performed similar in both strains in the exponential phase, indicating that a gene knockout is not required for application of AraC-PBAD in wild-type G. oxydans strains. However, the oxidation product arabinonic acid strongly contributed to the acidification of the growth medium in 621H cultures during the stationary phase, which resulted in drastically decreased reporter activities in 621H (pH 3.3) but not in BP.6 cultures (pH 4.4). These activities could be strongly increased quickly solely by incubating stationary cells in D-mannitol-free medium adjusted to pH 6, indicating that the reporters were hardly degraded yet rather became inactive. In a pH-controlled bioreactor, these reporter activities remained high in the stationary phase (pH 6). Finally, we created a multiple cloning vector with araC-PBAD based on pBBR1MCS-5. Together, we demonstrated superior functionality and good tunability of an AraC-PBAD system in G. oxydans that could possibly also be used in other AAB. KEY POINTS: • We found the AraC-PBAD system from E. coli MC4100 was well tunable in G. oxydans. •??In the absence of AraC or l-arabinose, expression from PBAD was extremely low. •?This araC-PBAD system could also be fully functional in other acetic acid bacteria.
Project description:Bacteria frequently rely on transcription repressors and activators to alter gene expression patterns in response to changes in the surrounding environment. Tet repressor (TetR) is a paradigm transcription factor that senses the environmental state by binding small molecule effectors, the tetracyclines. However, recently isolated peptides that act as inducers of TetR after having been fused to the C-terminus of a carrier protein, suggest that TetR can also regulate gene expression in a signal-transduction pathway. For this shift in regulatory mechanism to be successful, induction of TetR must be sensitive enough to respond to an inducing protein expressed at its endogenous level. To determine this regulatory parameter, a synthetic Tet-regulated system was introduced into the human pathogen Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium and tested for inducibility by a peptide. Reporter gene expression was detected if the peptide-containing carrier protein Thioredoxin 1 was strongly overproduced, but not if it was expressed at a level similar to the physiological level of Thioredoxin 1. This was attributed to high steady-state amounts of TetR which was expressed by the promoter of the chloramphenicol acetyl transferase gene (P(cat)). Reducing P(cat) strength either by directed or by random mutagenesis of its -10 element concomitantly reduced the intracellular amounts of TetR. Sensitive and quantitative induction of TetR by an inducing peptide, when it was fused to Thioredoxin 1 at its native locus in the genome, was only obtained with weak P(cat) promoter variants containing GC-rich -10 elements. A second important observation was that reducing the TetR steady-state level did not impair repression. This permits flexible adjustment of an inducible system's sensitivity simply by altering the expression level of the transcription factor. These two new layers of expression control will improve the quality and, thus, the applicability of the Tet and other regulatory systems.
Project description:Acetic acid bacteria have unique metabolic characteristics that suit them for a variety of biotechnological applications. They possess an arsenal of membrane-bound dehydrogenases in the periplasmic space that are capable of regiospecific and enantioselective partial oxidations of sugars, alcohols, and polyols. The resulting products are deposited directly into the medium where they are easily recovered for use as pharmaceutical precursors, industrial chemicals, food additives, and consumer products. Expression of extracytoplasmic enzymes to augment the oxidative capabilities of acetic acid bacteria is desired but is challenging due to the already crowded inner membrane. To this end, an original surface display system was developed to express recombinant enzymes at the outer membrane of the model acetic acid bacterium Gluconobacter oxydans. Outer membrane porin F (OprF) was used to deliver alkaline phosphatase (PhoA) to the cell surface. Constitutive high-strength p264 and moderate-strength p452 promoters were used to direct expression of the surface display system. This system was demonstrated for biocatalysis in whole-cell assays with the p264 promoter having a twofold increase in PhoA activity compared to the p452 promoter. Proteolytic cleavage of PhoA from the cell surface confirmed proper delivery to the outer membrane. Furthermore, a linker library was constructed to optimize surface display. A rigid (EAAAK)1 linker led to the greatest improvement, increasing PhoA activity by 69%. This surface display system could be used both to extend the capabilities of acetic acid bacteria in current biotechnological processes, and to broaden the potential of these microbes in the production of value-added products.
Project description:Regulated expression of genetic elements that either encode polypeptides or various types of functional RNA is a fundamental goal for gene therapy. Inducible expression may be preferred over constitutive promoters to allow clinician-based control of gene expression. Existing Tet-On systems represent one of the tightest rheostats for control of gene expression in mammals. However, basal expression in absence of tetracycline compromises the widespread application of Tet-controlled systems in gene therapy. We demonstrate that the order of P2A-linked genes of interest was critical for maximal response and tightness of a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-based construct. The introduction of G72V mutation in the activation region of the TetR component of the rtTA further improved the fold response. Although the G72V mutation resulted in a removal of a cryptic splice site within rtTA, additional removal of this splice site led to only a modest improvement in the fold-response. Selective removal of key promoter elements (namely the BRE, TATA box, DPE and the four predicted Inr) confirmed the suitability of the minimal CMV promoter and its downstream sequences for supporting inducible expression. The results demonstrate marked improvement of the rtTA based Tet-On system in Sleeping Beauty for applications such as CAR T cell therapy.