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Expression of benzoyl-CoA metabolism genes in the lignocellulolytic host Caldicellulosiruptor bescii...

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AMB Express
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Genes responsible for the anaerobic catabolism of benzoate in the thermophilic archaeon Ferroglobus placidus were expressed in the thermophilic lignocellulose-degrading bacterium Caldicellulosiruptor bescii, as a first step to engineering this bacterium to degrade this lignin metabolite. The benzoyl-CoA ligase gene was expressed individually, and in combination with benzoyl-CoA reductase and a putative benzoate transporter. This effort also assessed heterologous expression from a synthetically designed operon whereby each coding sequence was proceeded by a unique C. bescii ribosome binding site sequence. The F. placidicus benzoyl-CoA ligase gene was expressed in C. bescii to produce a full-length protein with catalytic activity. A synthetic 6-gene operon encoding three enzymes involved in benzoate degradation was also successfully expressed in C. bescii as determined by RNA analysis, though the protein products of only four of the genes were detected. The discord between the mRNA and protein measurements, especially considering the two genes lacking apparent protein abundance, suggests variable effectiveness of the ribosome binding site sequences utilized in this synthetic operon. The engineered strains did not degrade benzoate. Although the heterologously expressed gene encoding benzoyl-CoA ligase yielded a protein that was catalytically active in vitro, expression in C. bescii of six benzoate catabolism-related genes combined in a synthetic operon yielded mixed results. More effective expression and in vivo activity might be brought about by validating and using different ribosome binding sites and different promoters. Expressing additional pathway components may alleviate any pathway inhibition and enhance benzoyl-CoA reductase activity.