A two-plasmid inducible CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing tool for Clostridium acetobutylicum

François Wasels*, Jennifer Jean-Marie, Florent Collas, Ana M. López-Contreras, François Wasels

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


CRISPR/Cas-based genetic engineering has revolutionised molecular biology in both eukaryotes and prokaryotes. Several tools dedicated to the genomic transformation of the Clostridium genus of Gram-positive bacteria have been described in the literature; however, the integration of large DNA fragments still remains relatively limited. In this study, a CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing tool using a two-plasmid strategy was developed for the solventogenic strain Clostridium acetobutylicum ATCC 824. Codon-optimised cas9 from Streptococcus pyogenes was placed under the control of an anhydrotetracycline-inducible promoter on one plasmid, while the gRNA expression cassettes and editing templates were located on a second plasmid. Through the sequential introduction of these vectors into the cell, we achieved highly accurate genome modifications, including nucleotide substitution, gene deletion and cassette insertion up to 3.6 kb. To demonstrate its potential, this genome editing tool was used to generate a marker-free mutant of ATCC 824 that produced an isopropanol-butanol-ethanol mixture. Whole-genome sequencing confirmed that no off-target modifications were present in the mutants. Such a tool is a prerequisite for efficient metabolic engineering in this solventogenic strain and provides an alternative editing strategy that might be applicable to other Clostridium strains.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-11
JournalJournal of Microbiological Methods
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Clostridium acetobutylicum
  • CRISPR/Cas9
  • Genome engineering
  • Metabolic engineering


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