skip to main content


Title: Elucidation of Sequence–Function Relationships for an Improved Biobutanol In Vivo Biosensor in E. coli
Transcription factor (TF)–promoter pairs have been repurposed from native hosts to provide tools to measure intracellular biochemical production titer and dynamically control gene expression. Most often, native TF–promoter systems require rigorous screening to obtain desirable characteristics optimized for biotechnological applications. High-throughput techniques may provide a rational and less labor-intensive strategy to engineer user-defined TF–promoter pairs using fluorescence-activated cell sorting and deep sequencing methods (sort-seq). Based on the designed promoter library’s distribution characteristics, we elucidate sequence–function interactions between the TF and DNA. In this work, we use the sort-seq method to study the sequence–function relationship of a σ 54 -dependent, butanol-responsive TF–promoter pair, BmoR-P BMO derived from Thauera butanivorans , at the nucleotide level to improve biosensor characteristics, specifically an improved dynamic range. Activities of promoters from a mutagenized P BMO library were sorted based on gfp expression and subsequently deep sequenced to correlate site-specific sequences with changes in dynamic range. We identified site-specific mutations that increase the sensor output. Double mutant and a single mutant, CA(129,130)TC and G(205)A, in P BMO promoter increased dynamic ranges of 4-fold and 1.65-fold compared with the native system, respectively. In addition, sort-seq identified essential sites required for the proper function of the σ 54 -dependent promoter biosensor in the context of the host. This work can enable high-throughput screening methods for strain development.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1847226
NSF-PAR ID:
10319603
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology
Volume:
10
ISSN:
2296-4185
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Transcription factor (TF)–promoter pairs have been repurposed from native hosts to provide tools to measure intracellular biochemical production titer and dynamically control gene expression. Most often, native TF–promoter systems require rigorous screening to obtain desirable characteristics optimized for biotechnological applications. High-throughput techniques may provide a rational and less labor-intensive strategy to engineer user-defined TF–promoter pairs using fluorescence-activated cell sorting and deep sequencing methods (sort-seq). Based on the designed promoter library’s distribution characteristics, we elucidate sequence–function interactions between the TF and DNA. In this work, we use the sort-seq method to study the sequence–function relationship of a σ54-dependent, butanol-responsive TF–promoter pair, BmoR-PBMO derived from Thauera butanivorans, at the nucleotide level to improve biosensor characteristics, specifically an improved dynamic range. Activities of promoters from a mutagenized PBMO library were sorted based on gfp expression and subsequently deep sequenced to correlate site-specific sequences with changes in dynamic range. We identified site-specific mutations that increase the sensor output. Double mutant and a single mutant, CA(129,130)TC and G(205)A, in PBMO promoter increased dynamic ranges of 4-fold and 1.65-fold compared with the native system, respectively. In addition, sort-seq identified essential sites required for the proper function of the σ54-dependent promoter biosensor in the context of the host. This work can enable high-throughput screening methods for strain development. 
    more » « less
  2.  
    more » « less
  3. null (Ed.)
    Bacterial cells alter gene expression in response to changes in population density in a process called quorum sensing (QS). In Vibrio harveyi, LuxO, a low cell density activator of sigma factor-54 (RpoN), is required for transcription of five non-coding regulatory sRNAs, Qrr1-Qrr5, which each repress translation of the master QS regulator LuxR. Vibrio parahaemolyticus, the leading cause of bacterial seafood-borne gastroenteritis, also contains five Qrr sRNAs that control OpaR (the LuxR homolog), controlling capsule polysaccharide (CPS), motility, and metabolism. We show that in a Δ luxO deletion mutant, opaR was de-repressed and CPS and biofilm were produced. However, in a Δ rpoN mutant, opaR was repressed, no CPS was produced, and less biofilm production was observed compared to wild type. To determine why opaR was repressed, expression analysis in Δ luxO showed all five qrr genes were repressed, while in Δ rpoN the qrr2 gene was significantly de-repressed. Reporter assays and mutant analysis showed Qrr2 sRNA can act alone to control OpaR. Bioinformatics analysis identified a sigma-70 (RpoD) -35 -10 promoter overlapping the canonical sigma-54 (RpoN) -24 -12 promoter in the qrr2 regulatory region. The qrr2 sigma-70 promoter element was also present in additional Vibrio species indicating it is widespread. Mutagenesis of the sigma-70 -10 promoter site in the Δ rpoN mutant background, resulted in repression of qrr2. Analysis of qrr quadruple deletion mutants, in which only a single qrr gene is present, showed that only Qrr2 sRNA can act independently to regulate opaR . Mutant and expression data also demonstrated that RpoN and the global regulator, Fis, act additively to repress qrr2 . Our data has uncovered a new mechanism of qrr expression and shows that Qrr2 sRNA is sufficient for OpaR regulation. Importance The quorum sensing non-coding sRNAs are present in all Vibrio species but vary in number and regulatory roles among species. In the Harveyi clade, all species contain five qrr genes, and in V. harveyi these are transcribed by sigma-54 and are additive in function. In the Cholerae clade, four qrr genes are present, and in V. cholerae the qrr genes are redundant in function. In V. parahaemolyticus , qrr2 is controlled by two overlapping promoters. In an rpoN mutant, qrr2 is transcribed from a sigma-70 promoter that is present in all V. parahaemolyticus strains and in other species of the Harveyi clade suggesting a conserved mechanism of regulation. Qrr2 sRNA can function as the sole Qrr sRNA to control OpaR. 
    more » « less
  4. Dynamic, multi-input gene regulatory networks (GRNs) are ubiquitous in nature. Multilayer CRISPR-based genetic circuits hold great promise for building GRNs akin to those found in naturally occurring biological systems. We develop an approach for creating high-performing activatable promoters that can be assembled into deep, wide, and multi-input CRISPR-activation and -interference (CRISPRa/i) GRNs. By integrating sequence-based design and in vivo screening, we engineer activatable promoters that achieve up to 1,000-fold dynamic range in anEscherichia coli-based cell-free system. These components enable CRISPRa GRNs that are six layers deep and four branches wide. We show the generalizability of the promoter engineering workflow by improving the dynamic range of the light-dependent EL222 optogenetic system from 6-fold to 34-fold. Additionally, high dynamic range promoters enable CRISPRa systems mediated by small molecules and protein–protein interactions. We apply these tools to build input-responsive CRISPRa/i GRNs, including feedback loops, logic gates, multilayer cascades, and dynamic pulse modulators. Our work provides a generalizable approach for the design of high dynamic range activatable promoters and enables classes of gene regulatory functions in cell-free systems.

     
    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    During gene regulation, DNA accessibility is thought to limit the availability of transcription factor (TF) binding sites, while TFs can increase DNA accessibility to recruit additional factors that upregulate gene expression. Given this interplay, the causative regulatory events in the modulation of gene expression remain unknown for the vast majority of genes. We utilized deeply sequenced ATAC-Seq data and site-specific knock-in reporter genes to investigate the relationship between the binding-site resolution dynamics of DNA accessibility and the expression dynamics of the enhancers of Cebpa during macrophage-neutrophil differentiation. While the enhancers upregulate reporter expression during the earliest stages of differentiation, there is little corresponding increase in their total accessibility. Conversely, total accessibility peaks during the last stages of differentiation without any increase in enhancer activity. The accessibility of positions neighboring C/EBP-family TF binding sites, which indicates TF occupancy, does increase significantly during early differentiation, showing that the early upregulation of enhancer activity is driven by TF binding. These results imply that a generalized increase in DNA accessibility is not sufficient, and binding by enhancer-specific TFs is necessary, for the upregulation of gene expression. Additionally, high-coverage ATAC-Seq combined with time-series expression data can infer the sequence of regulatory events at binding-site resolution.

     
    more » « less