Team:Imperial/Gluconacetobacter

From 2014.igem.org

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                         <h2>Creating a genetic toolbox for G.xylinus</h2>
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                         <p>In parallel to sequencing the genome, we began building a large toolbox for G. xylinus genetic engineering. Only a few vectors have been developed for G. xylinus, and most of them were not available due to various reasons, including patents, materials-transfer agreements, and retired or deceased researchers. For this reason, we first created a set of new biobrick compatible plasmid backbones for G.xylinus genetic engineering. Because some E. coli promoters and proteins have been shown to work in Gluconacetobacter or Acetobacter species (Setyawati, 2007; Chien et al., 2006), we decided to test out and modify already existing Biobricks in the parts registry in G. xylinus to create a toolbox for G.xylinus genetic engineering. Finally, we inserted the Vitreoscilla hemoglobin gene (which is known to increase cellulose productivity and growth rate of G.xylinus (Chien et al. 2006)) expressed from a strong Anderson promoter into G.xylinus ATCC 53582 and G.xylinus KI strains. Therefore, the toolkit consists of:</p>
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                         <p>In parallel to sequencing the genome, we began building a new system to turn G.xylinus ATCC 53582 and KI strains into new, geneticallly engineered biomaterials production. We first characterized ATCC 53582 and KI strains, and created a set of new and improved protocols necessary for their genetic engineering (see <a href="http://2014.igem.org/Team:Imperial/Protocols">G.xylinus protocols</a>). However, Only a few vectors have been developed for G. xylinus, and most of them were not available due to various reasons, including patents, materials-transfer agreements, and retired or deceased researchers. For this reason, we first created a set of new biobrick compatible plasmid backbones for G.xylinus genetic engineering. Because some E. coli promoters and proteins have been shown to work in Gluconacetobacter or Acetobacter species (Setyawati, 2007; Chien et al., 2006), we decided to test out and modify already existing Biobricks in the parts registry in G. xylinus to create a toolbox for G.xylinus genetic engineering. Finally, we inserted the Vitreoscilla hemoglobin gene (which is known to increase cellulose productivity and growth rate of G.xylinus (Chien et al. 2006)) expressed from a strong Anderson promoter into G.xylinus ATCC 53582 and G.xylinus KI strains. Therefore, the toolkit consists of:</p>
                       <div class="accordion">
                       <div class="accordion">
                             <h3>Characterizing new hosts strains</h3>
                             <h3>Characterizing new hosts strains</h3>

Revision as of 03:28, 17 October 2014

Imperial iGEM 2014

G. xylinus

Overview

Bacterial cellulose has great potential in many areas, including water purification, tissue scaffolds, wound dressings, etc., however, until now, all bacterial cellulose-based materials have been created using chemical or physical post-production processing, not genetic engineering. This is due to the lack of well-developed tools and methods for Gluconacetobacter genetic engineering, as well as the lack of genome sequence of the highest cellulose-producing strain ATCC 53582. We have overcome the numerous difficulties associated with G.xylinus genetic engineering, and turned G.xylinus KI and ATCC 53852 strains into new platforms for the production of cellulose-based biomaterials by sequencing the genomes of ATCC 53582 and KI, creating a genetic toolbox of consisting of four new plasmid backbones and 40 widely used genes, and developing a set of new and improved protocols for G.xylinus genetic engineering.

Key Achievements

  • Isolated a new strain of Gluconacetobacter from Kombucha tea and characterized its properties fully.
  • Sequenced the previously unknown genomes of two G. xylinus strains - cellulose high-producing ATCC 53582 and our Kombucha-isolated strain - the first genomes sequenced in the history of iGEM
  • Discovered four new plasmids capable of replication in Gluconacetobacter species - pSEVA321, pSEVA331, pSEVA351 and pBAV1K, which replicate both in G. xylinus ATCC 53582 and in Kombucha-isolated strain
  • Created the first transgenic cells of the Kombucha-isolated strain of G. xylinus in science
  • Using our discovered plasmids, created a genetic toolbox consisting of 40 genes for G. xylinus engineering and expressed them in the ATCC 53582 and Kombucha-isolated strains
  • Developed a set of new and improved protocols for efficient genetic engineering of G. xylinus ATCC 53582 and our Kombucha-isolated strain
  • In summary,we turned G. xylinus ATCC 53582 and KI strains into new model organisms and developed the necessary tools to create a powerful platform for the synthesis of new cellulose-based biomaterials

Introduction

Due to its high productivity, G. xylinus is the main species used for the production of bacterial cellulose based products. These range from superior wound dressings, artificial blood vessels, scaffolds for tissue engineering, high-quality speaker membranes, stronger paper, nata de coco and many others (Keshk 2014) .

G. xylinus has been the subject of the majority of studies into production of bacterial cellulose. However, research into G. xylinus has primarily focused on the effects of different culture conditions (such as composition of growth media, aeration and agitation) on cellulose productivity, productivity of different strains and different post-processing methods. Few attempts have been made to improve cellulose productivity or the physical properties of cellulose through genetic engineering (but see Chien 2006). Consequently most of the genetic engineering methods and tools available for model organisms, such as E.coli, have not been developed for G. xylinus. These tools must first be developed, in order to begin serious efforts to genetically engineer G. xylinus strains capable of producing novel biomaterials, more cellulose, and at a lower cost.

Aims

In addition to the lack of tools, the continuous cellulose production of G. xylinus introduces further problems for genetic engineering, as it results in a low growth rate (the division time of G. xylinus is 4 hours, which is 8 times slower than that of E. coli), formation of spontaneous cellulose non-producing mutants in agitated culture (detrimental for the engineering of high-producing strains) and difficulties in performing procedures such as transformation, plasmid DNA extraction, etc. due to the physically interfering cellulose pellicle.

Furthermore, although the highest cellulose-producing strain G. xylinus ATCC 53582 has been used in several studies, the genome sequence of this strain is still unknown, making it impossible to carry out targeted engineering of chromosomal genes, which is vital to achieve increased productivity.

We aim to solve all of these problems, by completing three major projects: sequencing the genomes of ATCC53582 and Kombucha-isolated strain and creating a large toolbox for G. xylinus genetic. We then aim to use these tools to increase and control cellulose productivity and create new biomaterials with wide-ranging properties, by incorporating proteins with different functions into the cellulose matrix (see Functionalisation).

Genome sequencing

Although genome sequencing has become widely available due to the improvements in next-generation sequencing, even with smaller bacterial genomes (the genome of G. xylinus is approximately 3.5Mbp in size), genome sequencing is still unavailable for small to mid-sized research groups due to high costs. We performed a survey of prices offered by all commercially available service providers using the Illumina MiSeq next-generation sequencing platform (which is the most cost-effective method for bacterial genome sequencing) in Europe, and found that the average costs of fully sequencing a 3.5Mbp genome (which includes library preparation, sequencing, bioinformatics and gap filling) is approximately £3000. In order to be able to sequence the genome with the limited budget available to our team, we did not use a commercial sequencing service, and decided to perform the full sequencing cycle ourselves, despite having no previous experience in genome sequencing. We created the gDNA library using Illumina Nextera kit, by modifying the original Illumina protocol to be amenable for small sample number (see gDNA library preparation protocol). During gDNA library preparation, we discovered that cellulose production of G.xylinus resulted in the presence of a persistent contaminant in DNA preparation, which persisted even after four consecutive DNA purification methods. This contamination interfered with effective library preparation, retarding the project several weeks, and ultimately prompted us to create a new and specific protocol for G.xylinus DNA extraction (see G.xylinus DNA extraction). We performed the sequencing run (multiplexed sequencing of ATCC 53582 and KI in single run, paired-end 250bp reads using standard flow cell) on the Illumina MiSeq present at Imperial College’s Genomics Laboratory. Despite problems with gDNA library preparation, the sequencing yielded good results (9063619 reads with 98.71% reads identified). We completed the genome assembly with the support of Imperial Bioinformatics Support service using their in-house assembly pipeline.

The genome of G. xylinus ATCC 53582

TEXT AND DATA HERE

The genome of Kombucha-isolated G. xylinus

TEXT AND DATA HERE:

NEW HEADING

TEXT HERE.

Creating a genetic toolbox for G.xylinus

In parallel to sequencing the genome, we began building a new system to turn G.xylinus ATCC 53582 and KI strains into new, geneticallly engineered biomaterials production. We first characterized ATCC 53582 and KI strains, and created a set of new and improved protocols necessary for their genetic engineering (see G.xylinus protocols). However, Only a few vectors have been developed for G. xylinus, and most of them were not available due to various reasons, including patents, materials-transfer agreements, and retired or deceased researchers. For this reason, we first created a set of new biobrick compatible plasmid backbones for G.xylinus genetic engineering. Because some E. coli promoters and proteins have been shown to work in Gluconacetobacter or Acetobacter species (Setyawati, 2007; Chien et al., 2006), we decided to test out and modify already existing Biobricks in the parts registry in G. xylinus to create a toolbox for G.xylinus genetic engineering. Finally, we inserted the Vitreoscilla hemoglobin gene (which is known to increase cellulose productivity and growth rate of G.xylinus (Chien et al. 2006)) expressed from a strong Anderson promoter into G.xylinus ATCC 53582 and G.xylinus KI strains. Therefore, the toolkit consists of:

Characterizing new hosts strains

TEXT HERE

Plasmid backbones

In parallel to sequencing the genome, we began building a large toolbox for G. xylinus genetic engineering. Only a few vectors have been developed for G. xylinus, and most of them were not available for us for various reasons (including patents, materials-transfer agreements, and retired or deceased researchers). For this reason, we first tested out a set of new plasmids, and engineered them to be Biobrick compatible. As some E. coli promoters and proteins have been shown to work in Gluconacetobacter or Acetobacter species (Setyawati, 2007; Chien et al., 2006), and similarly to E.coli, G. xylinus is a Gram- species, we decided to test out and modify already existing Biobricks in the parts registry in G. xylinus. Therefore, the toolkit consists of:

  • New, Biobrick compatible shuttle vectors for Gluconacetobacter and E. coli
    • pSEVA321
    • pSEVA331
    • pSEVA351
    • pBAV1K
  • Characterization and optimization of parts from the Registry, including:
    • Fluorescent proteins, GFP, RFP, YFP, CFP
    • Chromoproteins
    • Vitreoscilla haemoglobin
    • The entire Anderson promoter library
    • Widely used gene expression control proteins AraC and TetR.

Anderson promoters

We aim to increase cellulose productivity by inserting the Vitreoscilla hemoglobin gene into G. xylinus and finding the optimum expression level by expressing Vitreoscilla hemoglobin behind different Anderson promoters. (Vitreoscilla haemoglobin was shown to increase cellulose productivity and growth rate by Chien 2006).

Inducible promoters

We aim to increase cellulose productivity by inserting the Vitreoscilla hemoglobin gene into G. xylinus and finding the optimum expression level by expressing Vitreoscilla hemoglobin behind different Anderson promoters. (Vitreoscilla haemoglobin was shown to increase cellulose productivity and growth rate by Chien 2006).

Chromoproteins

We aim to increase cellulose productivity by inserting the Vitreoscilla hemoglobin gene into G. xylinus and finding the optimum expression level by expressing Vitreoscilla hemoglobin behind different Anderson promoters. (Vitreoscilla haemoglobin was shown to increase cellulose productivity and growth rate by Chien 2006).

Engineering

Sequencing the genomes of G. xylinus ATCC 53582 and Kombucha-isolated G. xylinus strains

Although genome sequencing has become widely available due to the improvements in next-generation sequencing, even with smaller bacterial genomes (the genome of G. xylinus is approximately 3.5Mbp in size), genome sequencing is still unavailable for small to mid-sized research groups due to high costs. We performed a survey of prices offered by all commercially available service providers using the Illumina MiSeq next-generation sequencing platform (which is the most cost-effective method for bacterial genome sequencing) in Europe, and found that the average costs of fully sequencing a 3.5Mbp genome (which includes library preparation, sequencing, bioinformatics and gap filling) is approximately £3000.

In order to be able to sequence the genome with the limited budget available to our team, we did not use a commercial sequencing service, and decided to perform the full sequencing cycle ourselves, despite having no previous experience in genome sequencing. We created the gDNA library using Illumina Nextera kit, by modifying the original Illumina protocol to be amenable for small sample number (see gDNA library preparation protocol). During gDNA library preparation, we discovered that cellulose production of G.xylinus resulted in the presence of a persistent contaminant in DNA preparation, which persisted even after four consecutive DNA purification methods. This contamination interfered with effective library preparation, retarding the project several weeks, and ultimately prompted us to create a new and specific protocol for G.xylinus DNA extraction (see G.xylinus DNA extraction). We performed the sequencing run (multiplexed sequencing of ATCC 53582 and KI in single run, paired-end 250bp reads using standard flow cell) on the Illumina MiSeq present at Imperial College’s Genomics Laboratory. Despite problems with gDNA library preparation, the sequencing yielded good results (9063619 reads with 98.71% reads identified). We completed the genome assembly with the support of Imperial Bioinformatics Support service using their in-house assembly pipeline.

Creating a toolbox for Gluconacetobacter genetic engineering

In parallel to sequencing the genome, we began building a large toolbox for G. xylinus genetic engineering. Only a few vectors have been developed for G. xylinus, and most of them were not available for us for various reasons (including patents, materials-transfer agreements, and retired or deceased researchers). For this reason, we first tested out a set of new plasmids, and engineered them to be Biobrick compatible. As some E. coli promoters and proteins have been shown to work in Gluconacetobacter or Acetobacter species (Setyawati, 2007; Chien et al., 2006), and similarly to E.coli, G. xylinus is a Gram- species, we decided to test out and modify already existing Biobricks in the parts registry in G. xylinus. Therefore, the toolkit consists of:

  • New, Biobrick compatible shuttle vectors for Gluconacetobacter and E. coli
    • pSEVA321
    • pSEVA331
    • pSEVA351
    • pBAV1K
  • Characterization and optimization of parts from the Registry, including:
    • Fluorescent proteins, GFP, RFP, YFP, CFP
    • Chromoproteins
    • Vitreoscilla haemoglobin
    • The entire Anderson promoter library
    • Widely used gene expression control proteins AraC and TetR.

Engineering a high cellulose-producing ATCC 53582 strain

We aim to increase cellulose productivity by inserting the Vitreoscilla hemoglobin gene into G. xylinus and finding the optimum expression level by expressing Vitreoscilla hemoglobin behind different Anderson promoters. (Vitreoscilla haemoglobin was shown to increase cellulose productivity and growth rate by Chien 2006).

Modelling

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Testing

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Results

We have isolated a new strain of Acetobacter from kombucha, and determined its growth rate, cellulose productivity, and natural antibiotic resistance. We have also developed a set of methods for genetic engineering of this strain and have determined five new plasmids capable of replication in this strain. Thus we are the first to genetically engineer it.

We have discovered four new plasmids capable of replication in Acetobacter species - pSEVA321, pSEVA331, pSEVA351 and pBAV1K - both in G.xylinus ATCC 53582 strain, and in the strain we isolated from Kombucha. We have biobricked these plasmids, with the exception of pBAV1K, which had been originally engineered to be biobrick compatible (however, pBAV1K can not be uploaded to parts registry due to binding materials-transfer agreements).

References