CRISPR interference (CRISPRi) as transcriptional repression tool for Hungateiclostridium thermocellum DSM 1313

Joyshree Ganguly, Maria Martin-Pascual, Richard van Kranenburg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Hungateiclostridium thermocellum DSM 1313 has biotechnological potential as a whole-cell biocatalyst for ethanol production using lignocellulosic renewable sources. The full exploitation of H. thermocellum has been hampered due to the lack of simple and high-throughput genome engineering tools. Recently in our research group, a thermophilic bacterial CRISPR–Cas9-based system has been developed as a transcriptional suppression tool for regulation of gene expression. We applied ThermoCas9-based CRISPR interference (CRISPRi) to repress the H. thermocellum central metabolic lactate dehydrogenase (ldh) and phosphotransacetylase (pta) genes. The effects of repression on target genes were studied based on transcriptional expression and product formation. Single-guide RNA (sgRNA) under the control of native intergenic 16S/23S rRNA promoter from H. thermocellum directing the ThermodCas9 to the promoter region of both pta and ldh silencing transformants reduced expression up to 67% and 62% respectively. This resulted in 24% and 17% decrease in lactate and acetate production, correspondingly. Hence, the CRISPRi approach for H. thermocellum to downregulate metabolic genes can be used for remodelling of metabolic pathways without the requisite for genome engineering. These data established for the first time the feasibility of employing CRISPRi-mediated gene repression of metabolic genes in H. thermocellum DSM 1313.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-349
JournalMicrobial Biotechnology
Issue number2
Early online date5 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


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