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(1/3961) Antisense RNA strategies for metabolic engineering of Clostridium acetobutylicum.

We examined the effectiveness of antisense RNA (as RNA) strategies for metabolic engineering of Clostridium acetobutylicum. Strain ATCC 824(pRD4) was developed to produce a 102-nucleotide asRNA with 87% complementarity to the butyrate kinase (BK) gene. Strain ATCC 824(pRD4) exhibited 85 to 90% lower BK and acetate kinase specific activities than the control strain. Strain ATCC 824(pRD4) also exhibited 45 to 50% lower phosphotransbutyrylase (PTB) and phosphotransacetylase specific activities than the control strain. This strain exhibited earlier induction of solventogenesis, which resulted in 50 and 35% higher final concentrations of acetone and butanol, respectively, than the concentrations in the control. Strain ATCC 824(pRD1) was developed to putatively produce a 698-nucleotide asRNA with 96% complementarity to the PTB gene. Strain ATCC 824(pRD1) exhibited 70 and 80% lower PTB and BK activities, respectively, than the control exhibited. It also exhibited 300% higher levels of a lactate dehydrogenase activity than the control exhibited. The growth yields of ATCC 824(pRD1) were 28% less than the growth yields of the control. While the levels of acids were not affected in ATCC 824(pRD1) fermentations, the acetone and butanol concentrations were 96 and 75% lower, respectively, than the concentrations in the control fermentations. The lower level of solvent production by ATCC 824(pRD1) was compensated for by approximately 100-fold higher levels of lactate production. The lack of any significant impact on butyrate formation fluxes by the lower PTB and BK levels suggests that butyrate formation fluxes are not controlled by the levels of the butyrate formation enzymes.  (+info)

(2/3961) Enhanced bioaccumulation of heavy metal ions by bacterial cells due to surface display of short metal binding peptides.

Metal binding peptides of sequences Gly-His-His-Pro-His-Gly (named HP) and Gly-Cys-Gly-Cys-Pro-Cys-Gly-Cys-Gly (named CP) were genetically engineered into LamB protein and expressed in Escherichia coli. The Cd2+-to-HP and Cd2+-to-CP stoichiometries of peptides were 1:1 and 3:1, respectively. Hybrid LamB proteins were found to be properly folded in the outer membrane of E. coli. Isolated cell envelopes of E. coli bearing newly added metal binding peptides showed an up to 1.8-fold increase in Cd2+ binding capacity. The bioaccumulation of Cd2+, Cu2+, and Zn2+ by E. coli was evaluated. Surface display of CP multiplied the ability of E. coli to bind Cd2+ from growth medium fourfold. Display of HP peptide did not contribute to an increase in the accumulation of Cu2+ and Zn2+. However, Cu2+ ceased contribution of HP for Cd2+ accumulation, probably due to the strong binding of Cu2+ to HP. Thus, considering the cooperation of cell structures with inserted peptides, the relative affinities of metal binding peptide and, for example, the cell wall to metal ion should be taken into account in the rational design of peptide sequences possessing specificity for a particular metal.  (+info)

(3/3961) Metabolic engineering of a 1,2-propanediol pathway in Escherichia coli.

1,2-Propanediol (1,2-PD) is a major commodity chemical that is currently derived from propylene, a nonrenewable resource. A goal of our research is to develop fermentation routes to 1,2-PD from renewable resources. Here we report the production of enantiomerically pure R-1,2-PD from glucose in Escherichia coli expressing NADH-linked glycerol dehydrogenase genes (E. coli gldA or Klebsiella pneumoniae dhaD). We also show that E. coli overexpressing the E. coli methylglyoxal synthase gene (mgs) produced 1,2-PD. The expression of either glycerol dehydrogenase or methylglyoxal synthase resulted in the anaerobic production of approximately 0.25 g of 1,2-PD per liter. R-1,2-PD production was further improved to 0.7 g of 1,2-PD per liter when methylglyoxal synthase and glycerol dehydrogenase (gldA) were coexpressed. In vitro studies indicated that the route to R-1,2-PD involved the reduction of methylglyoxal to R-lactaldehyde by the recombinant glycerol dehydrogenase and the reduction of R-lactaldehyde to R-1, 2-PD by a native E. coli activity. We expect that R-1,2-PD production can be significantly improved through further metabolic and bioprocess engineering.  (+info)

(4/3961) Multiple genetic modifications of the erythromycin polyketide synthase to produce a library of novel "unnatural" natural products.

The structures of complex polyketide natural products, such as erythromycin, are programmed by multifunctional polyketide synthases (PKSs) that contain modular arrangements of functional domains. The colinearity between the activities of modular PKS domains and structure of the polyketide product portends the generation of novel organic compounds-"unnatural" natural products-by genetic manipulation. We have engineered the erythromycin polyketide synthase genes to effect combinatorial alterations of catalytic activities in the biosynthetic pathway, generating a library of >50 macrolides that would be impractical to produce by chemical methods. The library includes examples of analogs with one, two, and three altered carbon centers of the polyketide products. The manipulation of multiple biosynthetic steps in a PKS is an important milestone toward the goal of producing large libraries of unnatural natural products for biological and pharmaceutical applications.  (+info)

(5/3961) E-CELL: software environment for whole-cell simulation.

MOTIVATION: Genome sequencing projects and further systematic functional analyses of complete gene sets are producing an unprecedented mass of molecular information for a wide range of model organisms. This provides us with a detailed account of the cell with which we may begin to build models for simulating intracellular molecular processes to predict the dynamic behavior of living cells. Previous work in biochemical and genetic simulation has isolated well-characterized pathways for detailed analysis, but methods for building integrative models of the cell that incorporate gene regulation, metabolism and signaling have not been established. We, therefore, were motivated to develop a software environment for building such integrative models based on gene sets, and running simulations to conduct experiments in silico. RESULTS: E-CELL, a modeling and simulation environment for biochemical and genetic processes, has been developed. The E-CELL system allows a user to define functions of proteins, protein-protein interactions, protein-DNA interactions, regulation of gene expression and other features of cellular metabolism, as a set of reaction rules. E-CELL simulates cell behavior by numerically integrating the differential equations described implicitly in these reaction rules. The user can observe, through a computer display, dynamic changes in concentrations of proteins, protein complexes and other chemical compounds in the cell. Using this software, we constructed a model of a hypothetical cell with only 127 genes sufficient for transcription, translation, energy production and phospholipid synthesis. Most of the genes are taken from Mycoplasma genitalium, the organism having the smallest known chromosome, whose complete 580 kb genome sequence was determined at TIGR in 1995. We discuss future applications of the E-CELL system with special respect to genome engineering. AVAILABILITY: The E-CELL software is available upon request. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The complete list of rules of the developed cell model with kinetic parameters can be obtained via our web site at: http://e-cell.org/.  (+info)

(6/3961) Yellow fever/Japanese encephalitis chimeric viruses: construction and biological properties.

A system has been developed for generating chimeric yellow fever/Japanese encephalitis (YF/JE) viruses from cDNA templates encoding the structural proteins prM and E of JE virus within the backbone of a molecular clone of the YF17D strain. Chimeric viruses incorporating the proteins of two JE strains, SA14-14-2 (human vaccine strain) and JE Nakayama (JE-N [virulent mouse brain-passaged strain]), were studied in cell culture and laboratory mice. The JE envelope protein (E) retained antigenic and biological properties when expressed with its prM protein together with the YF capsid; however, viable chimeric viruses incorporating the entire JE structural region (C-prM-E) could not be obtained. YF/JE(prM-E) chimeric viruses grew efficiently in cells of vertebrate or mosquito origin compared to the parental viruses. The YF/JE SA14-14-2 virus was unable to kill young adult mice by intracerebral challenge, even at doses of 10(6) PFU. In contrast, the YF/JE-N virus was neurovirulent, but the phenotype resembled parental YF virus rather than JE-N. Ten predicted amino acid differences distinguish the JE E proteins of the two chimeric viruses, therefore implicating one or more residues as virus-specific determinants of mouse neurovirulence in this chimeric system. This study indicates the feasibility of expressing protective antigens of JE virus in the context of a live, attenuated flavivirus vaccine strain (YF17D) and also establishes a genetic system for investigating the molecular basis for neurovirulence determinants encoded within the JE E protein.  (+info)

(7/3961) A small catalytic RNA motif with Diels-Alderase activity.

BACKGROUND: The 'RNA world' hypothesis requires that RNA be able to catalyze a wide variety of chemical reactions. In vitro selection from combinatorial RNA libraries has been used to identify several catalytic activities, most of which have resulted in a self-modification of RNA at one of its constituents. The formation of carbon-carbon bonds is considered an essential prerequisite for a complex metabolism based on RNA. RESULTS: We describe the selection and characterization of new ribozymes that catalyze carbon-carbon bond formation by Diels-Alder reaction of a biotinylated maleimide with an RNA-tethered anthracene. Secondary structure analysis identified a 49-nucleotide RNA motif that accelerates the reaction about 20,000-fold. The motif has only 11 conserved nucleotides that are present in most of the selected sequences. The ribozyme motif is remarkably adaptable with respect to cofactor and metal-ion requirements. The motif was also re-engineered to give a 38-mer RNA that can act as a 'true' catalyst on short external substrate oligonucleotide-anthracene conjugates. CONCLUSIONS: We have identified a small, highly abundant RNA motif that can solve the complex task of forming two carbon-carbon bonds between two reactants in trans, a catalytic capacity useful for creating prebiotically relevant molecules. This is the smallest and fastest RNA catalyst for carbon-carbon bond formation reported to date.  (+info)

(8/3961) Heterologous expression of alkene monooxygenase from Rhodococcus rhodochrous B-276.

Alkene monooxygenase (AMO) from Rhodococcus rhodochrous (formerly Nocardia corallina) B-276 is a three-component enzyme system encoded by the four-gene operon amoABCD. AMO catalyses the stereoselective epoxygenation of aliphatic alkenes, yielding primarily R enantiomers. The presumed site of alkene oxygenation is a dinuclear iron centre similar to that in the soluble methane monooxygenases of methanotrophic bacteria, to which AMO exhibits a significant degree of amino acid sequence identity. The AMO complex was not expressed in Escherichia coli, at least partly because that host did not produce all of the AMO polypeptides. Expression of AMO was achieved in Streptomyces lividans by cloning the AMO genes into the thiostrepton-inducible expression plasmid pIJ6021. No background of AMO activity was detected in S. lividans cells without amoABCD and expression of AMO activity, at a level comparable to that from wild-type R. rhodochrous B-276, coincided with appearance of the AMO subunits. Recombinant AMO activity in cell-free extracts of S. lividans was stimulated by the addition of NADH and produced R-epoxypropane with comparable enantiomeric excess to AMO purified from the original organism. Although the whole AMO complex could not be expressed in E. coli, the functional coupling protein (AmoB) and reductase (AmoD) were expressed individually in E. coli as fusions with glutathione S-transferase. The expression systems described here now allow structure/function studies on AMO to be carried out by site-directed mutagenesis.  (+info)