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Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2012 Nov;96(3):749-61. doi: 10.1007/s00253-012-4112-2. Epub 2012 May 12.

The redox-sensing protein Rex, a transcriptional regulator of solventogenesis in Clostridium acetobutylicum.

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Abteilung Mikrobiologie, Institut für Biowissenschaften, Universität Rostock, Albert-Einstein-Str. 3, 18051, Rostock, Germany.


Solventogenic clostridia are characterised by their biphasic fermentative metabolism, and the main final product n-butanol is of particular industrial interest because it can be used as a superior biofuel. During exponential growth, Clostridium acetobutylicum synthesises acetic and butyric acids which are accompanied by the formation of molecular hydrogen and carbon dioxide. During the stationary phase, the solvents acetone, butanol and ethanol are produced. However, the molecular mechanisms of this metabolic switch are largely unknown so far. In this study, in silico, in vitro and in vivo analyses were performed to elucidate the function of the CAC2713-encoded redox-sensing transcriptional repressor Rex and its role in the solventogenic shift of C. acetobutylicum ATCC 824. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays showed that Rex controls the expression of butanol biosynthetic genes as a response to the cellular NADH/NAD(+) ratio. Interestingly, the Rex-negative mutant C. acetobutylicum rex::int(95) produced high amounts of ethanol and butanol, while hydrogen and acetone production were significantly reduced. Both ethanol and butanol (but not acetone) formation started clearly earlier than in the wild type. In addition, the rex mutant showed a de-repression of the bifunctional aldehyde/alcohol dehydrogenase 2 encoded by the adhE2 gene (CAP0035) as demonstrated by increased adhE2 expression as well as high NADH-dependent alcohol dehydrogenase activities. The results presented here clearly indicated that Rex is involved in the redox-dependent solventogenic shift of C. acetobutylicum.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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