Regulated control of both homologous and heterologous gene expression is essential for precise genetic manipulation and metabolic engineering of target microorganisms. However, there are often no options available for inducible promoters when working with non-model microorganisms. These include extremely thermophilic, cellulolytic bacteria that are of interest for renewable lignocellulosic conversion to biofuels and chemicals. In fact, improvements to the genetic systems in these organisms often cease once transformation is achieved. This present study expands the tools available for genetically engineering Caldicellulosiruptor bescii, the most thermophilic cellulose-degrader known growing up to 90 °C on unpretreated plant biomass. A native xylose-inducible (Pxi) promoter was utilized to control the expression of the reporter gene (ldh) encoding lactate dehydrogenase. The Pxi-ldh construct resulted in a both increased ldh expression (20-fold higher) and lactate dehydrogenase activity (32-fold higher) in the presence of xylose compared to when glucose was used as a substrate. Finally, lactate production during growth of the recombinant C. bescii strain was proportional to the initial xylose concentration, showing that tunable expression of genes is now possible using this xylose-inducible system. This study represents a major step in the use of C. bescii as a potential platform microorganism for biotechnological applications using renewable biomass.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Medicine
- Biodegradation of cellulosic
- Biotechnology of thermophiles
- Genetics of extremophiles
- Molecular biology