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Role of the CipA Scaffoldin Protein in Cellulose Solubilization, as Determined by Targeted Gene Deletion and Complementation in Clostridium thermocellum
- Olson, Daniel G., Giannone, Richard J., Hettich, Robert L., Lynd, Lee R.
- Journal of bacteriology 2013 v.195 no.4 pp. 733-739
- Clostridium thermocellum, bacteriology, cellulose, cellulosome, chromosomes, gene deletion, genes, mutants, plasmids, scaffolding proteins, solubilization, tandem mass spectrometry
- The CipA scaffoldin protein plays a key role in the Clostridium thermocellum cellulosome. Previous studies have revealed that mutants deficient in binding or solubilizing cellulose also exhibit reduced expression of CipA. To confirm that CipA is, in fact, necessary for rapid solubilization of crystalline cellulose, the gene was deleted from the chromosome using targeted gene deletion technologies. The CipA deletion mutant exhibited a 100-fold reduction in cellulose solubilization rate, although it was eventually able to solubilize 80% of the 5 g/liter cellulose initially present. The deletion mutant was complemented by a copy of cipA expressed from a replicating plasmid. In this strain, Avicelase activity was restored, although the rate was 2-fold lower than that in the wild type and the duration of the lag phase was increased. The cipA coding sequence is located at the beginning of a gene cluster containing several other genes thought to be responsible for the structural organization of the cellulosome, including olpB, orf2p, and olpA. Tandem mass spectrometry revealed a 10-fold reduction in the expression of olpB, which may explain the lower growth rate. This deletion experiment adds further evidence that CipA plays a key role in cellulose solubilization by C. thermocellum, and it raises interesting questions about the differential roles of the anchor scaffoldin proteins OlpB, Orf2p, and SdbA.