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A CRISPR/Anti-CRISPR Genome Editing Approach Underlines the Synergy of Butanol Dehydrogenases in Clostridium acetobutylicum DSM 792

Abstract : Although Clostridium acetobutylicum is the model organism for the study of acetone-butanol-ethanol (ABE) fermentation, its characterization has long been impeded by the lack of efficient genome editing tools. In particular, the contribution of alcohol dehydrogenases to solventogenesis in this bacterium has mostly been studied with the generation of single-gene deletion strains. In this study, the three butanol dehydrogenase-encoding genes located on the chromosome of the DSM 792 reference strain were deleted iteratively by using a recently developed CRISPR-Cas9 tool improved by using an anti-CRISPR protein-encoding gene, acrIIA4. Although the literature has previously shown that inactivation of either bdhA, bdhB, or bdhC had only moderate effects on the strain, this study shows that clean deletion of both bdhA and bdhB strongly impaired solvent production and that a triple mutant ΔbdhA ΔbdhB ΔbdhC was even more affected. Complementation experiments confirmed the key role of these enzymes and the capacity of each bdh copy to fully restore efficient ABE fermentation in the triple deletion strain. IMPORTANCE An efficient CRISPR-Cas9 editing tool based on a previous two-plasmid system was developed for Clostridium acetobutylicum and used to investigate the contribution of chromosomal butanol dehydrogenase genes during solventogenesis. Thanks to the control of cas9 expression by inducible promoters and of Cas9-guide RNA (gRNA) complex activity by an anti-CRISPR protein, this genetic tool allows relatively fast, precise, markerless, and iterative modifications in the genome of this bacterium and potentially of other bacterial species. As an example, scarless mutants in which up to three genes coding for alcohol dehydrogenases are inactivated were then constructed and characterized through fermentation assays. The results obtained show that in C. acetobutylicum, other enzymes than the well-known AdhE1 are crucial for the synthesis of alcohol and, more globally, to perform efficient solventogenes
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Submitted on : Friday, August 7, 2020 - 3:22:03 PM
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François Wasels, Gwladys Chartier, Rémi Hocq, Nicolas Lopes Ferreira. A CRISPR/Anti-CRISPR Genome Editing Approach Underlines the Synergy of Butanol Dehydrogenases in Clostridium acetobutylicum DSM 792. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, American Society for Microbiology, 2020, 86 (13), ⟨10.1128/AEM.00408-20⟩. ⟨hal-02913128⟩

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