Methods for genetic manipulation of Clostridium ljungdahlii are of interest because of the potential for production of fuels and other biocommodities from carbon dioxide via microbial electrosynthesis or more traditional modes of autotrophy with hydrogen or carbon monoxide as the electron donor. Furthermore, acetogenesis plays an important role in the global carbon cycle. Gene deletion strategies required for physiological studies of C. ljungdahlii have not previously been demonstrated. An electroporation procedure for introducing plasmids was optimized, and four different replicative origins for plasmid propagation in C. ljungdahlii were identified. Chromosomal gene deletion via double-crossover homologous recombination with a suicide vector was demonstrated initially with deletion of the gene for FliA, a putative sigma factor involved in flagellar biogenesis and motility in C. ljungdahlii. Deletion of fliA yielded a strain that lacked flagella and was not motile. To evaluate the potential utility of gene deletions for functional genomic studies and to redirect carbon and electron flow, the genes for the putative bifunctional aldehyde/alcohol dehydrogenases, adhE1 and adhE2, were deleted individually or together. Deletion of adhE1, but not adhE2, diminished ethanol production with a corresponding carbon recovery in acetate. The double deletion mutant had a phenotype similar to that of the adhE1-deficient strain. Expression of adhE1 in trans partially restored the capacity for ethanol production. These results demonstrate the feasibility of genetic investigations of acetogen physiology and the potential for genetic manipulation of C. ljungdahlii to optimize autotrophic biocommodity production.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/derek_lovley/379/