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Sci Rep. 2019 May 10;9(1):7228. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-43822-2.

σ54L) plays a central role in carbon metabolism in the industrially relevant Clostridium beijerinckii.

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IFP Energies nouvelles, 1 et 4 avenue de Bois-Préau, 92852, Rueil-Malmaison, France.
IFP Energies nouvelles, 1 et 4 avenue de Bois-Préau, 92852, Rueil-Malmaison, France.


The solventogenic C. beijerinckii DSM 6423, a microorganism that naturally produces isopropanol and butanol, was previously modified by random mutagenesis. In this work, one of the resulting mutants was characterized. This strain, selected with allyl alcohol and designated as the AA mutant, shows a dominant production of acids, a severely diminished butanol synthesis capacity, and produces acetone instead of isopropanol. Interestingly, this solvent-deficient strain was also found to have a limited consumption of two carbohydrates and to be still able to form spores, highlighting its particular phenotype. Sequencing of the AA mutant revealed point mutations in several genes including CIBE_0767 (sigL), which encodes the σ54 sigma factor. Complementation with wild-type sigL fully restored solvent production and sugar assimilation and RT-qPCR analyses revealed its transcriptional control of several genes related to solventogensis, demonstrating the central role of σ54 in C. beijerinckii DSM 6423. Comparative genomics analysis suggested that this function is conserved at the species level, and this hypothesis was further confirmed through the deletion of sigL in the model strain C. beijerinckii NCIMB 8052.

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