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Genome editing of Ralstonia eutropha using an electroporation-based CRISPR-Cas9 technique

Xiong, Bin, Li, Zhongkang, Liu, Li, Zhao, Dongdong, Zhang, Xueli, Bi, Changhao
Biotechnology for biofuels 2018 v.11 no.1 pp. 172
Cupriavidus necator, DNA repair, Escherichia coli, bacteria, carbon dioxide, carbon dioxide fixation, databases, electroporation, fructose, gene editing, homologous recombination, introns, plasmids, polyhydroxyalkanoates, restriction endonucleases
BACKGROUND: Ralstonia eutropha is an important bacterium for the study of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) synthesis and CO₂ fixation, which makes it a potential strain for industrial PHA production and attractive host for CO₂ conversion. Although the bacterium is not recalcitrant to genetic manipulation, current methods for genome editing based on group II introns or single crossover integration of a suicide plasmid are inefficient and time-consuming, which limits the genetic engineering of this organism. Thus, developing an efficient and convenient method for R. eutropha genome editing is imperative. RESULTS: An efficient genome editing method for R. eutropha was developed using an electroporation-based CRISPR-Cas9 technique. In our study, the electroporation efficiency of R. eutropha was found to be limited by its restriction-modification (RM) systems. By searching the putative RM systems in R. eutropha H16 using REBASE database and comparing with that in E. coli MG1655, five putative restriction endonuclease genes which are related to the RM systems in R. eutropha were predicated and disrupted. It was found that deletion of H16_A0006 and H16_A0008-9 increased the electroporation efficiency 1658 and 4 times, respectively. Fructose was found to reduce the leaky expression of the arabinose-inducible pBAD promoter, which was used to optimize the expression of cas9, enabling genome editing via homologous recombination based on CRISPR-Cas9 in R. eutropha. A total of five genes were edited with efficiencies ranging from 78.3 to 100%. The CRISPR-Cpf1 system and the non-homologous end joining mechanism were also investigated, but failed to yield edited strains. CONCLUSIONS: We present the first genome editing method for R. eutropha using an electroporation-based CRISPR-Cas9 approach, which significantly increased the efficiency and decreased time to manipulate this facultative chemolithoautotrophic microbe. The novel technique will facilitate more advanced researches and applications of R. eutropha for PHA production and CO₂ conversion.