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A CRISPRi-dCas9 System for Archaea and Its Use To Examine Gene Function during Nitrogen Fixation by Methanosarcina acetivoransAtomi, Haruyuki (Ed.)ABSTRACT CRISPR-based systems are emerging as the premier method to manipulate many cellular processes. In this study, a simple and efficient CRISPR interference (CRISPRi) system for targeted gene repression in archaea was developed. The Methanosarcina acetivorans CRISPR-Cas9 system was repurposed by replacing Cas9 with the catalytically dead Cas9 (dCas9) to generate a CRISPRi-dCas9 system for targeted gene repression. To test the utility of the system, genes involved in nitrogen (N 2 ) fixation were targeted for dCas9-mediated repression. First, the nif operon ( nifHI 1 I 2 DKEN ) that encodes molybdenum nitrogenase was targeted by separate guide RNAs (gRNAs), one targeting the promoter and the other targeting nifD . Remarkably, growth of M. acetivorans with N 2 was abolished by dCas9-mediated repression of the nif operon with each gRNA. The abundance of nif transcripts was >90% reduced in both strains expressing the gRNAs, and NifD was not detected in cell lysate. Next, we targeted NifB, which is required for nitrogenase cofactor biogenesis. Expression of a gRNA targeting the coding sequence of NifB decreased nifB transcript abundance >85% and impaired but did not abolish growth of M. acetivorans with N 2 . Finally, to ascertain the ability to study genemore »
Abstract Background The production of methane by methanogens is dependent on numerous iron-sulfur (Fe-S) cluster proteins; yet, the machinery involved in Fe-S cluster biogenesis in methanogens remains largely unknown. Methanogen genomes encode uncharacterized homologs of the core components of the ISC (IscS and IscU) and SUF (SufBC) Fe-S cluster biogenesis systems found in bacteria and eukaryotes. Methanosarcina acetivorans contains three iscSU and two sufCB gene clusters. Here, we report genetic and biochemical characterization of M. acetivorans iscSU2 . Results Purified IscS2 exhibited pyridoxal 5′- phosphate-dependent release of sulfur from L-cysteine. Incubation of purified IscU2 with IscS2, cysteine, and iron (Fe 2+ ) resulted in the formation of [4Fe-4S] clusters in IscU2. IscU2 transferred a [4Fe-4S] cluster to purified M. acetivorans apo-aconitase. IscU2 also restored the aconitase activity in air-exposed M. acetivorans cell lysate. These biochemical results demonstrate that IscS2 is a cysteine desulfurase and that IscU2 is a Fe-S cluster scaffold. M. acetivorans strain DJL60 deleted of iscSU2 was generated to ascertain the in vivo importance of IscSU2. Strain DJL60 had Fe-S cluster content and growth similar to the parent strain but lower cysteine desulfurase activity. Strain DJL60 also had lower intracellular persulfide content compared to the parent strain whenmore »