Investigation of global regulators influencing styrene metabolism and bioplastic synthesis in Pseudomonas putida CA-3

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Ryan, William James
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University College Cork
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The genetics and biochemistry involved in the biodegradation of styrene and the production of polyhydroxyalkanoates in Pseudomonas putida CA-3 have been well characterised to date. Knowledge of the role played by global regulators in controlling these pathways currently represents a critical knowledge gap in this area. Here we report on our efforts to identify such regulators using mini-Tn5 transposon mutagenesis of the P. putida CA-3 genome. The library generated was subjected to phenotypic screening to identify mutants exhibiting a reduced sensitivity to the effects of carbon catabolite repression of aromatic pathway activity. Our efforts identified a clpX disrupted mutant which exhibited wild-type levels of growth on styrene but significantly reduced growth on phenylacetic acid. RT-PCR analysis of key PACoA catabolon genes necessary for phenylacetic acid metabolism, and SDS-PAGE protein profile analyses suggest that no direct alteration of PACoA pathway transcriptional or translational activity was involved. The influence of global regulators affecting the accumulation of PHAs in P. putida CA-3 was also studied. Phenotypic screening of the mini-Tn5 library revealed a gacS sensor kinase gene disruption resulting in the loss of PHA accumulation capacity in P. putida CA-3. Subsequent SDS-PAGE protein analyses of the wild type and gacS mutant strains identified post-transcriptional control of phaC1 synthase as a key point of control of PHA synthesis in P. putida CA-3. Disruption of the gacS gene in another PHA accumulating organism, P. putida S12, also demonstrated a reduction of PHA accumulation capacity. PHA accumulation was observed to be disrupted in the CA-3 gacS mutant under phosphorus limited growth conditions. Over-expression studies in both wild type CA-3 and gacS mutant demonstrated that rsmY over-expression in gacS disrupted P. putida CA-3 is insufficient to restore PHA accumulation in the cell however in wild type cells, over-expression of rsmY results in an altered PHA monomer compositions.
gacS , ClpX , Global regulators
Ryan, W.J. 2013. Investigation of global regulators influencing styrene metabolism and bioplastic synthesis in Pseudomonas putida CA-3. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
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