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Inducible Promoter for Gene Expression Control in Clostridium Thermocellum

Invention Reference Number

Ethanol structure / Adobe Stock

This technology can activate gene expression in a time- and dose-dependent manner in the thermophilic bacterium Clostridium thermocellum. This system will mediate inducible gene expression for strain engineering in C. thermocellum as well as in genotype-to-phenotype discovery studies. C. thermocellum is an anaerobic thermophile capable of degrading lignocellulose to sugars and fermenting those sugars into commodity chemicals such as ethanol, which eliminates the need for extra feedstock processing, a process known as consolidated bioprocessing (CBP). The inducible promoter used in this technology works at high temperatures, unlike other promoters.


Degradation and fermentation of lignocellulosic biomass via CBP along with more precise engineering of gene expression pathways for conversion to target chemicals is a promising strategy to reduce the cost and complexity of biofuel production. C. thermocellum is an ideal microorganism due to its ability to perform both the degradation and fermentation steps via this CBP strategy. Current genetic engineering tools like inducible promoters are insufficient to engineer C. thermocellum due to its growth at high temperatures. This invention is a design of a heterologous inducible promoter that is induced by an inexpensive, non-metabolizable compound to achieve stable and sustained gene expression in C. thermocellum at high temperatures. This new genetic engineering tool can help accelerate the engineering and identification of new gene functions to improve the efficiency and yield of target biofuels and chemicals.


  • Increased ethanol production
  • More efficient process
  • Works at high temperature
  • Can control gene expression levels and improve yields
  • Can be used in other thermophilic bacteria
  • Eliminates extra step of chemical processing

Applications and Industries

  • Ethanol production
  • Genetic engineering


To learn more about this technology, email or call 865-574-1051.