Transcription and expression regulation of some individual cel genes (cel5A, cel5I, cel5D and cel44O) of Clostridium cellulolyticum were investigated. Unlike the cip-cel operon, these genes are transcribed as monocistronic units of transcription, except cel5D. The location of the transcription initiation sites was determined using RT-PCR and the mRNA 5-end extremities were detected using primer extension experiments. Similarly to the cip-cel operon, cel5A and cel5I expressions are regulated by a carbon catabolite repression mechanism, whereas cel44O and cel5D expressions do not seem to be submitted to this regulation. The role of the putative transcriptional regulator GlyR2 in the regulation of cel5D expression was investigated. The recombinant protein GlyR2 was produced and was shown to bind in vitro to the cel5D and glyR2 promoter regions, suggesting that besides regulating its own expression, GlyR2 may regulate cel5D expression. To test this hypothesis in vivo, an insertional glyR2 mutant was generated and the effect of this disruption on cel5D expression was evaluated. Levels of cel5D mRNAs in the mutant were 16 fold lower than that of the wild-type strain suggesting that GlyR2 acts as an activator of cel5D expression.
The composition of the cellulosomes (multi enzymatic complexes involved in the degradation of plant cell wall polysaccharides) produced by Clostridium cellulolyticum differs according to the growth substrate. In particular, the expression of a cluster of 14 hemicellulase-encoding genes (called xyl-doc) seems to be induced by the presence of straw and not of cellulose. Genes encoding a putative two-component regulation system (XydS/R) were found upstream of xyl-doc. First evidence for the involvement of the response regulator, XydR, part of this two-component system, in the expression of xyl-doc genes was given by the analysis of the cellulosomes produced by a regulator overproducing strain when grown on cellulose. Nano-LC MS/MS analysis allowed the detection of the products of all xyl-doc genes and of the product of the gene at locus Ccel_1656 predicted to bear a carbohydrate binding domain targeting hemicellulose. RT-PCR experiments further demonstrated that the regulation occurs at the transcriptional level and that all xyl-doc genes are transcriptionally linked. mRNA quantification in a regulator knock-out strain and in its complemented derivative confirmed the involvement of the regulator in the expression of xyl-doc genes and of the gene at locus Ccel_1656 in response to straw. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays using the purified regulator further demonstrated that the regulator binds to DNA regions located upstream of the first gene of the xyl-doc gene cluster and upstream of the gene at locus Ccel_1656.
Clostridium cellulolyticum, a mesophilic anaerobic bacterium, produces highly active enzymatic complexes called cellulosomes. This strain was already shown to bind to cellulose, however the molecular mechanism(s) involved is not known. In this context we focused on the gene named hycP, encoding a 250-kDa protein of unknown function, containing a Family-3 Carbohydrate Binding Module (CBM3) along with 23 hyaline repeat modules (HYR modules). In the microbial kingdom the gene hycP is only found in C. cellulolyticum and the very close strain recently sequenced Clostridium sp BNL1100. Its presence in C. cellulolyticum guided us to analyze its function and its putative role in adhesion of the cells to cellulose. The CBM3 of HycP was shown to bind to crystalline cellulose and was assigned to the CBM3b subfamily. No hydrolytic activity on cellulose was found with a mini-protein displaying representative domains of HycP. A C. cellulolyticum inactivated hycP mutant strain was constructed, and we found that HycP is neither involved in binding of the cells to cellulose nor that the protein has an obvious role in cell growth on cellulose. We also characterized the role of the cellulosome scaffolding protein CipC in adhesion of C. cellulolyticum to cellulose, since cellulosome scaffolding protein has been proposed to mediate binding of other cellulolytic bacteria to cellulose. A second mutant was constructed, where cipC was inactivated. We unexpectedly found that CipC is only partly involved in binding of C. cellulolyticum to cellulose. Other mechanisms for cellulose adhesion may therefore exist in C. cellulolyticum. In addition, no cellulosomal protuberances were observed at the cellular surface of C. cellulolyticum, what is in contrast to reports from several other cellulosomes producing strains. These findings may suggest that C. cellulolyticum has no dedicated molecular mechanism to aggregate the cellulosomes at the cellular surface.
Cysteine desulphurases are primary sources of sulphur that can eventually be used for Fe/S biogenesis or thiolation of various cofactors and tRNA. Escherichia coli contains three such enzymes, IscS, SufS and CsdA. The importance of IscS and SufS in Fe/S biogenesis is well established. The physiological role of CsdA in contrast remains uncertain. We provide here additional evidences for a functional redundancy between the three cysteine desulphurases in vivo. In particular, we show that a deficiency in isoprenoid biosynthesis is the unique cause of the lethality of the iscS sufS mutant. Moreover, we show that CsdA is engaged in two separate sulphur transfer pathways. In one pathway, CsdA interacts functionally with SufE-SufBCD proteins to assist Fe/S biogenesis. In another pathway, CsdA interacts with CsdE and a newly discovered protein, which we called CsdL, resembling E1-like proteins found in ubiquitin-like modification systems. We propose this new pathway to allow synthesis of an as yet to be discovered thiolated compound.
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