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J Bacteriol. 2004 Apr;186(7):2006-18.

Transcriptional analysis of butanol stress and tolerance in Clostridium acetobutylicum.

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  • 1Department of Chemical Engineering, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60208, USA.


The effects of challenges with low (0.25%, vol/vol) and high (0.75%) concentrations of butanol on the growth, glucose metabolism, product formation, and transcriptional program of the solvent-tolerant Clostridium acetobutylicum strain 824(pGROE1) and the plasmid control strain 824(pSOS95del) were used to study solvent tolerance and stress response. Strain 824(pGROE1) was generated by groESL overexpression. The growth of 824(pGROE1) was less inhibited than that of 824(pSOS95del), and 824(pGROE1) was able to metabolize glucose over the entire course of the culture (60 h postchallenge) while glucose metabolism in 824(pSOS95del) lasted 24 h. A comparison of their respective DNA array-based transcriptional profiles identified genes with similar expression patterns (these genes are likely to be part of a general butanol stress response) and genes with opposite expression patterns (these genes are likely to be associated with increased tolerance to butanol). Both strains exhibited a butanol dose-dependent increase in expression of all major stress protein genes, including groES, dnaKJ, hsp18, and hsp90; all major solvent formation genes, including aad, ctfA and -B, adc, and bdhA and -B (an unexpected and counterintuitive finding); the butyrate formation genes (ptb and buk); the butyryl coenzyme A biosynthesis operon genes; fructose bisphosphate aldolase; and a gene with homology to Bacillus subtilis kinA. A dose-dependent decrease in expression was observed for the genes of the major fatty acid synthesis operon (also an unexpected and counterintuitive finding), several glycolytic genes, and a few sporulation genes. Genes with opposite expression kinetics included rlpA, artP, and a gene encoding a hemin permease. Taken together, these data suggest that stress, even when it derives from the solvent product itself, triggers the induction of the solvent formation genes.

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