Genome-scale metabolic models (GEMs) have been developed and used in guiding systems' metabolic engineering strategies for strain design and development. This strategy has been used in fermentative production of bio-based industrial chemicals and fuels from alternative carbon sources. However, computer-aided hypotheses building using established algorithms and software platforms for biological discovery can be integrated into the pipeline for strain design strategy to create superior strains of microorganisms for targeted biosynthetic goals. Here, I described an integrated workflow strategy using GEMs for strain design and biological discovery. Specific case studies of strain design and biological discovery using Escherichia coli genome-scale model are presented and discussed. The integrated workflow presented herein, when applied carefully would help guide future design strategies for high-performance microbial strains that have existing and forthcoming genome-scale metabolic models.
Microbial strain optimization focuses on improving technological properties of the strain of microorganisms. However, the complexities of the metabolic networks, which lead to data ambiguity, often cause genetic modification on the desirable phenotypes difficult to predict. Furthermore, vast number of reactions in cellular metabolism lead to the combinatorial problem in obtaining optimal gene deletion strategy. Consequently, the computation time increases exponentially with the increase in the size of the problem. Hence, we propose an extension of a hybrid of Bees Algorithm and Flux Balance Analysis (BAFBA) by integrating OptKnock into BAFBA to validate the result. This paper presents a number of computational experiments to test on the performance and capability of BAFBA. Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis and Clostridium thermocellum are the model organisms in this paper. Also included is the identification of potential reactions to improve the production of succinic acid, lactic acid and ethanol, plus the discussion on the changes in the flux distribution of the predicted mutants. BAFBA shows potential in suggesting the non-intuitive gene knockout strategies and a low variability among the several runs. The results show that BAFBA is suitable, reliable and applicable in predicting optimal gene knockout strategy.
Microbial strain optimisation for the overproduction of a desired phenotype has been a popular topic in recent years. Gene knockout is a genetic engineering technique that can modify the metabolism of microbial cells to obtain desirable phenotypes. Optimisation algorithms have been developed to identify the effects of gene knockout. However, the complexities of metabolic networks have made the process of identifying the effects of genetic modification on desirable phenotypes challenging. Furthermore, a vast number of reactions in cellular metabolism often lead to a combinatorial problem in obtaining optimal gene knockout. The computational time increases exponentially as the size of the problem increases. This work reports an extension of Bees Hill Flux Balance Analysis (BHFBA) to identify optimal gene knockouts to maximise the production yield of desired phenotypes while sustaining the growth rate. This proposed method functions by integrating OptKnock into BHFBA for validating the results automatically. The results show that the extension of BHFBA is suitable, reliable, and applicable in predicting gene knockout. Through several experiments conducted on Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis, and Clostridium thermocellum as model organisms, extension of BHFBA has shown better performance in terms of computational time, stability, growth rate, and production yield of desired phenotypes.
Seven (6.1%) of 115 strains of Salmonella typhi isolated from Malaysian patients harbored a single large plasmid of 71 to 166 mD. Two of the seven plasmid-bearing strains were resistant to chloramphenicol (Cm) and tetracycline (Tc) and they transferred Cm and Tc resistance traits to Escherichia coli K12 at frequencies from 1.6 x 10(-7) to 1.9 x 10(-6). Agarose gel electrophoresis provided evidence that the resistance traits were cotransferred on a conjugative plasmid. The significance and importance of these results are discussed.
Over the last 20 years in biotechnology, the production of recombinant proteins has been a crucial bioprocess in both biopharmaceutical and research arena in terms of human health, scientific impact and economic volume. Although logical strategies of genetic engineering have been established, protein overexpression is still an art. In particular, heterologous expression is often hindered by low level of production and frequent fail due to opaque reasons. The problem is accentuated because there is no generic solution available to enhance heterologous overexpression. For a given protein, the extent of its solubility can indicate the quality of its function. Over 30% of synthesized proteins are not soluble. In certain experimental circumstances, including temperature, expression host, etc., protein solubility is a feature eventually defined by its sequence. Until now, numerous methods based on machine learning are proposed to predict the solubility of protein merely from its amino acid sequence. In spite of the 20 years of research on the matter, no comprehensive review is available on the published methods.
Three transition metal derivatives (Zn, Cu, and Ni) of 2-[2-bromoethyliminomethyl]-4-[ethoxymethyl]phenol (L) were synthesized by the reaction of the metal salts with the Schiff base ligand in one pot. In the crystal structure of [Zn(L)Br], the Schiff base ligand binds to the metal center through its phenolate oxygen and imine nitrogen, and adopts a distorted tetrahedral geometry. These compounds were found to inhibit topoisomerase I (topo I) activity, induce DNA cleavage and show DNA binding activity. Moreover, these compounds were found to be cytotoxic towards several cancer cell lines (A2780, MCF-7, HT29, HepG2, A549, PC3, LNCaP) and prevent metastasis of PC3. Collectively, Cu(II) complex 2 shows superior activity relative to its Zn(II) and Ni(II) analogs.
Neonatal Fc-receptor (FcRn) with its affinity to immunoglobulin G (IgG) has been the subject of many pharmacokinetic studies in the past century. This protein is well known for its unique feature in maintaining the circulating IgG from degradation in blood plasma. FcRn is formed by non-covalent association between the α-chain with the β-2-microglobulin (β2m). Many studies have been conducted to produce FcRn in the laboratory, mainly using mammalian tissue culture as host for recombinant protein expression. In this study, we demonstrate a novel strategy to express the α-chain of FcRn using Escherichia coli as the expression host. The expression vector that carries the cDNA of the α-chain was transformed into expression host, Rosetta-gami 2 strain for inducible expression. The bacterial culture was grown in a modified growth medium which constitutes of terrific broth, sodium chloride (NaCl), glucose and betaine. A brief heat shock at 45 °C was carried out after induction, before the temperature for expression was reduced to 22 °C and grown for 16 h. The soluble form of the α-chain of FcRn expressed was tested in the ELISA and dot blot immunoassay to confirm its native functionality. The results implied that the α-chain of FcRn expressed using this method is functional and retains its pH-dependent affinity to IgG. Our study significantly suggests that the activity of human FcRn remain active and functional in the absence of β2m.
Co-expression of multiple proteins is increasingly essential for synthetic biology, studying protein-protein complexes, and characterizing and harnessing biosynthetic pathways. In this manuscript, the use of a highly effective system for the construction of multigene synthetic operons under the control of an inducible T7 RNA polymerase is described. This system allows many genes to be expressed simultaneously from one plasmid. Here, a set of four related vectors, pMGX-A, pMGX-hisA, pMGX-K, and pMGX-hisK, with either the ampicillin or kanamycin resistance selectable marker (A and K) and either possessing or lacking an N-terminal hexahistidine tag (his) are disclosed. Detailed protocols for the construction of synthetic operons using this vector system are provided along with the corresponding data, showing that a pMGX-based system containing five genes can be readily constructed and used to produce all five encoded proteins in Escherichia coli. This system and protocol enables researchers to routinely express complex multi-component modules and pathways in E. coli.
This article comparatively reports the workability of Escherichia coli BL21(DE3) and Pseudomonas putida KT2440 cell factories for the expression of three model autodisplayed cellulases (i.e., endoglucanase, BsCel5A; exoglucanase, CelK; β-glucosidase, BglA). The differentiation of the recombinant cells was restricted to their cell growth and enzyme expression/activity attributes. Comparatively, the recombinant E. coli showed higher cell growth rates but lower enzyme activities than the recombinant P. putida. However, the endo-, exoglucanase, and β-glucosidase on the surfaces of both cell factories showed activity over a broad range of pH (4-10) and temperature (30-100 °C). The pH and temperature optima were pH 6, 60 °C (BsCel5A); pH 6, 60-70 °C (CelK); and pH 6, 50 °C (BglA). Overall, the P. putida cell factory with autodisplayed enzymes demonstrated higher bioactivity and remarkable biochemical characteristics and thus was chosen for the saccharification of filter paper. A volumetric blend of the three cellulases with P. putida as the host yielded a ratio of 1:1:1.5 of endoglucanase, exoglucanase, and β-glucosidase, respectively, as the optimum blend composition for filter paper degradation. At an optical density (578 nm) of 50, the blend generated a maximum sugar yield of about 0.7 mg/ml (~ 0.08 U/g) from Whatman filter paper (Ø 6 mm, ~ 2.5 mg) within 24 h.
We have successfully developed a Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assay that could specifically detect generic Escherichia coli (E. coli). This assay was tested on 85 bacterial strains and successfully identified 54 E. coli strains (average threshold time, Tt = 21.26). The sensitivity of this assay was evaluated on serial dilutions of bacterial cultures and spiked faeces. The assay could detect 10(2) CFU/mL for bacterial culture with Tt = 33.30 while the detection limit for spiked faeces was 10(3) CFU/mL (Tt = 31.12). We have also detected 46 generic E. coli from 50 faecal samples obtained from indigenous individuals with 16% of the positive samples being verocytotoxin-producing E. coli (VTEC) positive. VT1/VT2 allele was present in one faecal sample while the ratio of VT1 to VT2 was 6 : 1. Overall, our study had demonstrated high risk of VTEC infection among the indigenous community and most of the asymptomatic infection occurred among those aged below 15 years. The role of asymptomatic human carriers as a source of dissemination should not be underestimated. Large scale screening of the VTEC infection among indigenous populations and the potential contamination sources will be possible and easy with the aid of this newly developed rapid and simple LAMP assay.
Escherichia coli-the powerhouse for recombinant protein production-is rapidly gaining status as a reliable and efficient host for secretory expression. An improved understanding of protein translocation processes and its mechanisms has inspired and accelerated the development of new tools and applications in this field and, in particular, a more efficient secretion signal. Several important characteristics and requirements are summarised for the design of a more efficient signal peptide for the production of recombinant proteins in E. coli. General approaches and strategies to optimise the signal peptide, including the selection and modification of the signal peptide components, are included. Several challenges in the secretory production of recombinant proteins are discussed, and research approaches designed to meet these challenges are proposed.
Pseudogenes are considered to be nonfunctional genes that lack a physiological role. By screening 3985 Escherichia coli mutants using chemochromic membranes, we found four pseudogenes involved in hydrogen metabolism. Knockouts of pseudogenes ydfW and ypdJ had a defective hydrogen phenotype on glucose and formate, respectively. Also, the knockout of pseudogene yqiG formed hydrogen from formate but not from glucose. For the yqiG mutant, 100% hydrogen recovery was obtained by the complementation of YqiG via a plasmid. The knockout of pseudogene ylcE showed hydrogen deficiency in minimal media which suggested that the role of YlcE is associated with cell growth. Hence, the products of these four pseudogenes play an important physiological role in hydrogen production in E. coli.
In this study we investigated the relationship between several selected commercially available essential oils and beta-lactam antibiotics on their antibacterial effect against multidrug resistant bacteria. The antibacterial activity of essential oils and antibiotics was assessed using broth microdilution. The combined effects between essential oils of cinnamon bark, lavender, marjoram, tea tree, peppermint and ampicillin, piperacillin, cefazolin, cefuroxime, carbenicillin, ceftazidime, meropenem, were evaluated by means of the checkerboard method against beta-lactamase-producing Escherichia coli. In the latter assays, fractional inhibitory concentration (FIC) values were calculated to characterize interaction between the combinations. Substantial susceptibility of the bacteria toward natural antibiotics and a considerable reduction in the minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) of the antibiotics were noted in some paired combinations of antibiotics and essential oils. Out of 35 antibiotic-essential oil pairs tested, four of them showed synergistic effect (FIC≤0.5) and 31 pairs showed no interaction (FIC>0.5-4.0). The preliminary results obtained highlighted the occurrence of a pronounced synergistic relationship between piperacillin/cinnamon bark oil, piperacillin/lavender oil, piperacillin/peppermint oil as well as meropenem/peppermint oil against two of the three bacteria under study with a FIC index in the range 0.26-0.5. The finding highlighted the potential of peppermint, cinnamon bark and lavender essential oils being as antibiotic resistance modifying agent. Reduced usage of antibiotics could be employed as a treatment strategy to decrease the adverse effects and possibly to reverse the beta-lactam antibiotic resistance.
Succinic acid is an important platform chemical that has broad applications and is been listed as one of the top twelve bio-based chemicals produced from biomass by the US Department of Energy. The metabolic role of Escherichia coli formate dehydrogenase-O (fdoH) under anaerobic conditions in relation to succinic acid production remained largely unspecified. Herein we report, what are to our knowledge, the first metabolic fdoH gene knockout that have enhanced succinate production using glucose and glycerol substrates in E. coli. Using the most recent E. coli reconstruction iJO1366, we engineered its host metabolism to enhance the anaerobic succinate production by deleting the fdoH gene, which blocked H(+) conduction across the mutant cell membrane for the enhanced succinate production. The engineered mutant strain BMS4 showed succinate production of 2.05 g l(-1) (41.2-fold in 7 days) from glycerol and .39 g l(-1) (6.2-fold in 1 day) from glucose. This work revealed that a single deletion of the fdoH gene is sufficient to increase succinate production in E. coli from both glucose and glycerol substrates.
Two genes that encode α-amylases from two Anoxybacillus species were cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli. The genes are 1,518 bp long and encode 506 amino acids. Both sequences are 98% similar but are distinct from other well-known α-amylases. Both of the recombinant enzymes, ASKA and ADTA, were purified using an α-CD-Sepharose column. They exhibited an optimum activity at 60°C and pH 8. Both amylases were stable at pH 6-10. At 60°C in the absence of Ca²⁺, negligible reduction in activity for up to 48 h was observed. The activity half-life at 65°C was 48 and 3 h for ASKA and ADTA, respectively. In the presence of Ca²⁺ ions, both amylases were highly stable for at least 48 h and had less than a 10% decrease in activity at 70°C. Both enzymes exhibited similar end-product profiles, and the predominant yield was maltose (69%) from starch hydrolysis. To the best of our knowledge, most α-amylases that produce high levels of maltose are active at an acidic to neutral pH. This is the first report of two thermostable, alkalitolerant recombinant α-amylases from Anoxybacillus that produce high levels of maltose and have an atypical protein sequence compared with known α-amylases.
Direct transport of recombinant protein from cytosol to extracellular medium offers great advantages, such as high specific activity and a simple purification step. This work presents an investigation on the potential of an ABC (ATP-binding cassette) transporter system, the hemolysin transport system, for efficient protein secretion in Escherichia coli (E. coli). A higher secretory production of recombinant cyclodextrin glucanotransferase (CGTase) was achieved by a new plasmid design and subsequently by optimization of culture conditions via central composite design. An improvement of at least fourfold extracellular recombinant CGTase was obtained using the new plasmid design. The optimization process consisted of 20 experiments involving six star points and six replicates at the central point. The predicted optimum culture conditions for maximum recombinant CGTase secretion were found to be 25.76 μM IPTG, 1.0% (w/v) arabinose and 34.7°C post-induction temperature, with a predicted extracellular CGTase activity of 68.76 U/ml. Validation of the model gave an extracellular CGTase activity of 69.15 ± 0.71 U/ml, resulting in a 3.45-fold increase compared to the initial conditions. This corresponded to an extracellular CGTase yield of about 0.58 mg/l. We showed that a synergistic balance of transported protein and secretory pathway is important for efficient protein transport. In addition, we also demonstrated the first successful removal of the C-terminal secretion signal from the transported fusion protein by thrombin proteolytic cleavage.
Reporter gene activity under the regulation of the oil palm metallothionein-like gene, MT3-A promoter was assessed in prokaryotes. Vector constructs containing MT3-A promoter with (W1MT3-A) and without (W2MT3-A) five prime untranslated region (5'-UTR) fused to ß-glucuronidase (GUS) gene in pCAMBIA 1304 vector were produced. 5'-rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE) using mRNA isolated from Escherichia coli and Agrobacterium tumefaciens harboring W1MT3-A confirmed that fusion transcripts of MT3-A 5'-UTR-GUS were successfully produced in both bacteria. Competitive PCR and GUS fluorometric assay showed changes in the level of GUS gene transcripts and enzyme activity in response to increasing concentrations of Cu²+ and Zn²+. The application of Cu²+ increased GUS activity and GUS mRNA level in both bacteria. In E. coli, a high level of GUS activity driven by W1MT3-A and W2MT3-A was observed in treatment with 25 μM Cu²+ resulting in an increase in the GUS mRNA level to 7.2 and 7.5 x 10⁻⁴ pmol/μl respectively, compared to the control (5.1 x 10⁻⁴ pmol/μl). The lowest GUS activity and GUS mRNA level were obtained for W1MT3-A and W2MT3-A in the presence of 100 μM Cu²+ in both bacteria compared to the control (without Cu²+). The application of different Zn²+ concentrations resulted in a strong decrease in the GUS activity and GUS mRNA level in E. coli and A. tumefaciens. These findings showed that the oil palm MT3-A promoter is functional in prokaryotes and produced detectable GUS transcripts and enzyme activities. This promoter may potentially be used in prokaryotic systems which require metal inducible gene expression.
The ctxB gene, the causative agent of cholera epidemic was successfully cloned from V. cholerae in E. coli. The insertion of the gene was confirmed by PCR as well as restriction digestion analyses. The sequencing results for the gene confirmed that the insert was in the correct orientation and in-frame with the P(BAD) promoter and it showed that the gene was 99% homologous to the published ctxB sequence. The CTB protein was successfully expressed in E. coli using the pBAD/His vector system. The expected protein of approximately 14 kDa was detected by SDS-PAGE and Western blot. The use of pBAD/His vector to express the cholera toxin gene in E. coli would facilitate future study of toxin gene products.