Genome stability in engineered strains of the extremely thermophilic lignocellulose-degrading bacterium Caldicellulosiruptor bescii

Amanda M. Williams-Rhaesa, Farris L. Poole, Jessica T. Dinsmore, Gina L. Lipscomb, Gabriel M. Rubinstein, Israel M. Scott, Jonathan M. Conway, Laura L. Lee, Piyum A. Khatibi, Robert M. Kelly, Michael W.W. Adams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Caldicellulosiruptor bescii is the most thermophilic cellulose degrader known and is of great interest because of its ability to degrade nonpretreated plant biomass. For biotechnological applications, an efficient genetic system is required to engineer it to convert plant biomass into desired products. To date, two different genetically tractable lineages of C. bescii strains have been generated. The first (JWCB005) is based on a random deletion within the pyrimidine biosynthesis genes pyrFA, and the second (MACB1018) is based on the targeted deletion of pyrE, making use of a kanamycin resistance marker. Importantly, an active insertion element, ISCbe4, was discovered in C. bescii when it disrupted the gene for lactate dehydrogenase (ldh) in strain JWCB018, constructed in the JWCB005 background. Additional instances of ISCbe4 movement in other strains of this lineage are presented herein. These observations raise concerns about the genetic stability of such strains and their use as metabolic engineering platforms. In order to investigate genome stability in engineered strains of C. bescii from the two lineages, genome sequencing and Southern blot analyses were performed. The evidence presented shows a dramatic increase in the number of single nucleotide polymorphisms, insertions/deletions, and ISCbe4 elements within the genome of JWCB005, leading to massive genome rearrangements in its daughter strain, JWCB018. Such dramatic effects were not evident in the newer MACB1018 lineage, indicating that JWCB005 and its daughter strains are not suitable for metabolic engineering purposes in C. bescii. Furthermore, a facile approach for assessing genomic stability in C. bescii has been established.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00444-17
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Biotechnology
  • Ecology


  • Genome sequencing
  • Insertion elements
  • Kanamycin resistance
  • Southern blotting


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