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1.  Complete genome sequence of producer of the glycopeptide antibiotic Aculeximycin Kutzneria albida DSM 43870T, a representative of minor genus of Pseudonocardiaceae 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):885.
Background
Kutzneria is a representative of a rarely observed genus of the family Pseudonocardiaceae. Kutzneria species were initially placed in the Streptosporangiaceae genus and later reconsidered to be an independent genus of the Pseudonocardiaceae. Kutzneria albida is one of the eight known members of the genus. This strain is a unique producer of the glycosylated polyole macrolide aculeximycin which is active against both bacteria and fungi. Kutzneria albida genome sequencing and analysis allow a deeper understanding of evolution of this genus of Pseudonocardiaceae, provide new insight in the phylogeny of the genus, as well as decipher the hidden secondary metabolic potential of these rare actinobacteria.
Results
To explore the biosynthetic potential of Kutzneria albida to its full extent, the complete genome was sequenced. With a size of 9,874,926 bp, coding for 8,822 genes, it stands alongside other Pseudonocardiaceae with large circular genomes. Genome analysis revealed 46 gene clusters potentially encoding secondary metabolite biosynthesis pathways. Two large genomic islands were identified, containing regions most enriched with secondary metabolism gene clusters. Large parts of this secondary metabolism “clustome” are dedicated to siderophores production.
Conclusions
Kutzneria albida is the first species of the genus Kutzneria with a completely sequenced genome. Genome sequencing allowed identifying the gene cluster responsible for the biosynthesis of aculeximycin, one of the largest known oligosaccharide-macrolide antibiotics. Moreover, the genome revealed 45 additional putative secondary metabolite gene clusters, suggesting a huge biosynthetic potential, which makes Kutzneria albida a very rich source of natural products. Comparison of the Kutzneria albida genome to genomes of other actinobacteria clearly shows its close relations with Pseudonocardiaceae in line with the taxonomic position of the genus.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-885) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-885
PMCID: PMC4210621  PMID: 25301375
Kutzneria; Genome; Genomic islands; Secondary metabolism; Aculeximycin
2.  Reconstruction of the lipid metabolism for the microalga Monoraphidium neglectum from its genome sequence reveals characteristics suitable for biofuel production 
BMC Genomics  2013;14:926.
Background
Microalgae are gaining importance as sustainable production hosts in the fields of biotechnology and bioenergy. A robust biomass accumulating strain of the genus Monoraphidium (SAG 48.87) was investigated in this work as a potential feedstock for biofuel production. The genome was sequenced, annotated, and key enzymes for triacylglycerol formation were elucidated.
Results
Monoraphidium neglectum was identified as an oleaginous species with favourable growth characteristics as well as a high potential for crude oil production, based on neutral lipid contents of approximately 21% (dry weight) under nitrogen starvation, composed of predominantly C18:1 and C16:0 fatty acids. Further characterization revealed growth in a relatively wide pH range and salt concentrations of up to 1.0% NaCl, in which the cells exhibited larger structures. This first full genome sequencing of a member of the Selenastraceae revealed a diploid, approximately 68 Mbp genome with a G + C content of 64.7%. The circular chloroplast genome was assembled to a 135,362 bp single contig, containing 67 protein-coding genes. The assembly of the mitochondrial genome resulted in two contigs with an approximate total size of 94 kb, the largest known mitochondrial genome within algae. 16,761 protein-coding genes were assigned to the nuclear genome. Comparison of gene sets with respect to functional categories revealed a higher gene number assigned to the category “carbohydrate metabolic process” and in “fatty acid biosynthetic process” in M. neglectum when compared to Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and Nannochloropsis gaditana, indicating a higher metabolic diversity for applications in carbohydrate conversions of biotechnological relevance.
Conclusions
The genome of M. neglectum, as well as the metabolic reconstruction of crucial lipid pathways, provides new insights into the diversity of the lipid metabolism in microalgae. The results of this work provide a platform to encourage the development of this strain for biotechnological applications and production concepts.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-14-926
PMCID: PMC3890519  PMID: 24373495
M. neglectum genome; Biofuels; Lipid metabolism; Neutral lipid accumulation
3.  Comprehensive analysis of the Corynebacterium glutamicum transcriptome using an improved RNAseq technique 
BMC Genomics  2013;14:888.
Background
The use of RNAseq to resolve the transcriptional organization of an organism was established in recent years and also showed the complexity and dynamics of bacterial transcriptomes. The aim of this study was to comprehensively investigate the transcriptome of the industrially relevant amino acid producer and model organism Corynebacterium glutamicum by RNAseq in order to improve its genome annotation and to describe important features for transcription and translation.
Results
RNAseq data sets were obtained by two methods, one that focuses on 5′-ends of primary transcripts and another that provides the overall transcriptome with an improved resolution of 3′-ends of transcripts. Subsequent data analysis led to the identification of more than 2,000 transcription start sites (TSSs), the definition of 5′-UTRs (untranslated regions) for annotated protein-coding genes, operon structures and many novel transcripts located between or in antisense orientation to protein-coding regions. Interestingly, a high number of mRNAs (33%) is transcribed as leaderless transcripts. From the data, consensus promoter and ribosome binding site (RBS) motifs were identified and it was shown that the majority of genes in C. glutamicum are transcribed monocistronically, but operons containing up to 16 genes are also present.
Conclusions
The comprehensive transcriptome map of C. glutamicum established in this study represents a major step forward towards a complete definition of genetic elements (e.g. promoter regions, gene starts and stops, 5′-UTRs, RBSs, transcript starts and ends) and provides the ideal basis for further analyses on transcriptional regulatory networks in this organism. The methods developed are easily applicable for other bacteria and have the potential to be used also for quantification of transcriptomes, replacing microarrays in the near future.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-14-888
PMCID: PMC3890552  PMID: 24341750
Corynebacterium glutamicum; RNA; High-throughput sequencing; Transcriptome
4.  Comprehensive discovery and characterization of small RNAs in Corynebacterium glutamicum ATCC 13032 
BMC Genomics  2013;14(1):714.
Background
Recent discoveries on bacterial transcriptomes gave evidence that small RNAs (sRNAs) have important regulatory roles in prokaryotic cells. Modern high-throughput sequencing approaches (RNA-Seq) enable the most detailed view on transcriptomes offering an unmatched comprehensiveness and single-base resolution. Whole transcriptome data obtained by RNA-Seq can be used to detect and characterize all transcript species, including small RNAs. Here, we describe an RNA-Seq approach for comprehensive detection and characterization of small RNAs from Corynebacterium glutamicum, an actinobacterium of high industrial relevance and model organism for medically important Corynebacterianeae, such as C. diphtheriae and Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
Results
In our RNA-Seq approach, total RNA from C. glutamicum ATCC 13032 was prepared from cultures grown in minimal medium at exponential growth or challenged by physical (heat shock, cold shock) or by chemical stresses (diamide, H2O2, NaCl) at this time point. Total RNA samples were pooled and sequencing libraries were prepared from the isolated small RNA fraction. High throughput short read sequencing and mapping yielded over 800 sRNA genes. By determining their 5′- and 3′-ends and inspection of their locations, these potential sRNA genes were classified into UTRs of mRNAs (316), cis-antisense sRNAs (543), and trans-encoded sRNAs (262). For 77 of trans-encoded sRNAs significant sequence and secondary structure conservation was found by a computational approach using a whole genome alignment with the closely related species C. efficiens YS-314 and C. diphtheriae NCTC 13129. Three selected trans-encoded sRNAs were characterized by Northern blot analysis and stress-specific transcript patterns were found.
Conclusions
The study showed comparable numbers of sRNAs known from genome-wide surveys in other bacteria. In detail, our results give deep insight into the comprehensive equipment of sRNAs in C. glutamicum and provide a sound basis for further studies concerning the functions of these sRNAs.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-14-714) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-14-714
PMCID: PMC4046766  PMID: 24138339
Bacteria; Non-coding RNA; High-throughput sequencing; RNA regulation
5.  A novel type of N-acetylglutamate synthase is involved in the first step of arginine biosynthesis in Corynebacterium glutamicum 
BMC Genomics  2013;14:713.
Background
Arginine biosynthesis in Corynebacterium glutamicum consists of eight enzymatic steps, starting with acetylation of glutamate, catalysed by N-acetylglutamate synthase (NAGS). There are different kinds of known NAGSs, for example, “classical” ArgA, bifunctional ArgJ, ArgO, and S-NAGS. However, since C. glutamicum possesses a monofunctional ArgJ, which catalyses only the fifth step of the arginine biosynthesis pathway, glutamate must be acetylated by an as of yet unknown NAGS gene.
Results
Arginine biosynthesis was investigated by metabolome profiling using defined gene deletion mutants that were expected to accumulate corresponding intracellular metabolites. HPLC-ESI-qTOF analyses gave detailed insights into arginine metabolism by detecting six out of seven intermediates of arginine biosynthesis. Accumulation of N-acetylglutamate in all mutants was a further confirmation of the unknown NAGS activity. To elucidate the identity of this gene, a genomic library of C. glutamicum was created and used to complement an Escherichia coli ΔargA mutant. The plasmid identified, which allowed functional complementation, contained part of gene cg3035, which contains an acetyltransferase domain in its amino acid sequence. Deletion of cg3035 in the C. glutamicum genome led to a partial auxotrophy for arginine. Heterologous overexpression of the entire cg3035 gene verified its ability to complement the E. coli ΔargA mutant in vivo and homologous overexpression led to a significantly higher intracellular N-acetylglutamate pool. Enzyme assays confirmed the N-acetylglutamate synthase activity of Cg3035 in vitro. However, the amino acid sequence of Cg3035 revealed no similarities to members of known NAGS gene families.
Conclusions
The N-acetylglutamate synthase Cg3035 is able to catalyse the first step of arginine biosynthesis in C. glutamicum. It represents a novel class of NAGS genes apparently present only in bacteria of the suborder Corynebacterineae, comprising amongst others the genera Corynebacterium, Mycobacterium, and Nocardia. Therefore, the name C-NAGS (Corynebacterineae-type NAGS) is proposed for this new family.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-14-713
PMCID: PMC3827942  PMID: 24138314
Corynebacterium glutamicum; N-acetylglutamate synthase; NAGS; Arginine biosynthesis; ArgA; HPLC-ESI-qTOF
6.  Complete genome sequence of Saccharothrix espanaensis DSM 44229T and comparison to the other completely sequenced Pseudonocardiaceae 
BMC Genomics  2012;13:465.
Background
The genus Saccharothrix is a representative of the family Pseudonocardiaceae, known to include producer strains of a wide variety of potent antibiotics. Saccharothrix espanaensis produces both saccharomicins A and B of the promising new class of heptadecaglycoside antibiotics, active against both bacteria and yeast.
Results
To better assess its capabilities, the complete genome sequence of S. espanaensis was established. With a size of 9,360,653 bp, coding for 8,501 genes, it stands alongside other Pseudonocardiaceae with large genomes. Besides a predicted core genome of 810 genes shared in the family, S. espanaensis has a large number of accessory genes: 2,967 singletons when compared to the family, of which 1,292 have no clear orthologs in the RefSeq database. The genome analysis revealed the presence of 26 biosynthetic gene clusters potentially encoding secondary metabolites. Among them, the cluster coding for the saccharomicins could be identified.
Conclusion
S. espanaensis is the first completely sequenced species of the genus Saccharothrix. The genome discloses the cluster responsible for the biosynthesis of the saccharomicins, the largest oligosaccharide antibiotic currently identified. Moreover, the genome revealed 25 additional putative secondary metabolite gene clusters further suggesting the strain’s potential for natural product synthesis.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-13-465
PMCID: PMC3469384  PMID: 22958348
7.  Transcriptional regulation of the operon encoding stress-responsive ECF sigma factor SigH and its anti-sigma factor RshA, and control of its regulatory network in Corynebacterium glutamicum 
BMC Genomics  2012;13:445.
Background
The expression of genes in Corynebacterium glutamicum, a Gram-positive non-pathogenic bacterium used mainly for the industrial production of amino acids, is regulated by seven different sigma factors of RNA polymerase, including the stress-responsive ECF-sigma factor SigH. The sigH gene is located in a gene cluster together with the rshA gene, putatively encoding an anti-sigma factor. The aim of this study was to analyze the transcriptional regulation of the sigH and rshA gene cluster and the effects of RshA on the SigH regulon, in order to refine the model describing the role of SigH and RshA during stress response.
Results
Transcription analyses revealed that the sigH gene and rshA gene are cotranscribed from four sigH housekeeping promoters in C. glutamicum. In addition, a SigH-controlled rshA promoter was found to only drive the transcription of the rshA gene. To test the role of the putative anti-sigma factor gene rshA under normal growth conditions, a C. glutamicum rshA deletion strain was constructed and used for genome-wide transcription profiling with DNA microarrays. In total, 83 genes organized in 61 putative transcriptional units, including those previously detected using sigH mutant strains, exhibited increased transcript levels in the rshA deletion mutant compared to its parental strain. The genes encoding proteins related to disulphide stress response, heat stress proteins, components of the SOS-response to DNA damage and proteasome components were the most markedly upregulated gene groups. Altogether six SigH-dependent promoters upstream of the identified genes were determined by primer extension and a refined consensus promoter consisting of 45 original promoter sequences was constructed.
Conclusions
The rshA gene codes for an anti-sigma factor controlling the function of the stress-responsive sigma factor SigH in C. glutamicum. Transcription of rshA from a SigH-dependent promoter may serve to quickly shutdown the SigH-dependent stress response after the cells have overcome the stress condition. Here we propose a model of the regulation of oxidative and heat stress response including redox homeostasis by SigH, RshA and the thioredoxin system.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-13-445
PMCID: PMC3489674  PMID: 22943411
Corynebacterium glutamicum; ECF sigma factor; Anti-sigma factor; Promoter; Microarray analysis
8.  The complete genome sequence of the acarbose producer Actinoplanes sp. SE50/110 
BMC Genomics  2012;13:112.
Background
Actinoplanes sp. SE50/110 is known as the wild type producer of the alpha-glucosidase inhibitor acarbose, a potent drug used worldwide in the treatment of type-2 diabetes mellitus. As the incidence of diabetes is rapidly rising worldwide, an ever increasing demand for diabetes drugs, such as acarbose, needs to be anticipated. Consequently, derived Actinoplanes strains with increased acarbose yields are being used in large scale industrial batch fermentation since 1990 and were continuously optimized by conventional mutagenesis and screening experiments. This strategy reached its limits and is generally superseded by modern genetic engineering approaches. As a prerequisite for targeted genetic modifications, the complete genome sequence of the organism has to be known.
Results
Here, we present the complete genome sequence of Actinoplanes sp. SE50/110 [GenBank:CP003170], the first publicly available genome of the genus Actinoplanes, comprising various producers of pharmaceutically and economically important secondary metabolites. The genome features a high mean G + C content of 71.32% and consists of one circular chromosome with a size of 9,239,851 bp hosting 8,270 predicted protein coding sequences. Phylogenetic analysis of the core genome revealed a rather distant relation to other sequenced species of the family Micromonosporaceae whereas Actinoplanes utahensis was found to be the closest species based on 16S rRNA gene sequence comparison. Besides the already published acarbose biosynthetic gene cluster sequence, several new non-ribosomal peptide synthetase-, polyketide synthase- and hybrid-clusters were identified on the Actinoplanes genome. Another key feature of the genome represents the discovery of a functional actinomycete integrative and conjugative element.
Conclusions
The complete genome sequence of Actinoplanes sp. SE50/110 marks an important step towards the rational genetic optimization of the acarbose production. In this regard, the identified actinomycete integrative and conjugative element could play a central role by providing the basis for the development of a genetic transformation system for Actinoplanes sp. SE50/110 and other Actinoplanes spp. Furthermore, the identified non-ribosomal peptide synthetase- and polyketide synthase-clusters potentially encode new antibiotics and/or other bioactive compounds, which might be of pharmacologic interest.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-13-112
PMCID: PMC3364876  PMID: 22443545
Genomics; Actinomycetes; Actinoplanes; Complete genome sequence; Acarbose; AICE
9.  Complete genome and comparative analysis of Streptococcus gallolyticus subsp. gallolyticus, an emerging pathogen of infective endocarditis 
BMC Genomics  2011;12:400.
Background
Streptococcus gallolyticus subsp. gallolyticus is an important causative agent of infectious endocarditis, while the pathogenicity of this species is widely unclear. To gain insight into the pathomechanisms and the underlying genetic elements for lateral gene transfer, we sequenced the entire genome of this pathogen.
Results
We sequenced the whole genome of S. gallolyticus subsp. gallolyticus strain ATCC BAA-2069, consisting of a 2,356,444 bp circular DNA molecule with a G+C-content of 37.65% and a novel 20,765 bp plasmid designated as pSGG1. Bioinformatic analysis predicted 2,309 ORFs and the presence of 80 tRNAs and 21 rRNAs in the chromosome. Furthermore, 21 ORFs were detected on the plasmid pSGG1, including tetracycline resistance genes telL and tet(O/W/32/O). Screening of 41 S. gallolyticus subsp. gallolyticus isolates revealed one plasmid (pSGG2) homologous to pSGG1. We further predicted 21 surface proteins containing the cell wall-sorting motif LPxTG, which were shown to play a functional role in the adhesion of bacteria to host cells. In addition, we performed a whole genome comparison to the recently sequenced S. gallolyticus subsp. gallolyticus strain UCN34, revealing significant differences.
Conclusions
The analysis of the whole genome sequence of S. gallolyticus subsp. gallolyticus promotes understanding of genetic factors concerning the pathogenesis and adhesion to ECM of this pathogen. For the first time we detected the presence of the mobilizable pSGG1 plasmid, which may play a functional role in lateral gene transfer and promote a selective advantage due to a tetracycline resistance.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-12-400
PMCID: PMC3173452  PMID: 21824414
10.  Functional genomics of pH homeostasis in Corynebacterium glutamicum revealed novel links between pH response, oxidative stress, iron homeostasis and methionine synthesis 
BMC Genomics  2009;10:621.
Background
The maintenance of internal pH in bacterial cells is challenged by natural stress conditions, during host infection or in biotechnological production processes. Comprehensive transcriptomic and proteomic analyses has been conducted in several bacterial model systems, yet questions remain as to the mechanisms of pH homeostasis.
Results
Here we present the comprehensive analysis of pH homeostasis in C. glutamicum, a bacterium of industrial importance. At pH values between 6 and 9 effective maintenance of the internal pH at 7.5 ± 0.5 pH units was found. By DNA microarray analyses differential mRNA patterns were identified. The expression profiles were validated and extended by 1D-LC-ESI-MS/MS based quantification of soluble and membrane proteins. Regulators involved were identified and thereby participation of numerous signaling modules in pH response was found. The functional analysis revealed for the first time the occurrence of oxidative stress in C. glutamicum cells at neutral and low pH conditions accompanied by activation of the iron starvation response. Intracellular metabolite pool analysis unraveled inhibition of the TCA and other pathways at low pH. Methionine and cysteine synthesis were found to be activated via the McbR regulator, cysteine accumulation was observed and addition of cysteine was shown to be toxic under acidic conditions.
Conclusions
Novel limitations for C. glutamicum at non-optimal pH values were identified by a comprehensive analysis on the level of the transcriptome, proteome, and metabolome indicating a functional link between pH acclimatization, oxidative stress, iron homeostasis, and metabolic alterations. The results offer new insights into bacterial stress physiology and new starting points for bacterial strain design or pathogen defense.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-10-621
PMCID: PMC2807442  PMID: 20025733
11.  The dual transcriptional regulator CysR in Corynebacterium glutamicum ATCC 13032 controls a subset of genes of the McbR regulon in response to the availability of sulphide acceptor molecules 
BMC Genomics  2008;9:483.
Background
Regulation of sulphur metabolism in Corynebacterium glutamicum ATCC 13032 has been studied intensively in the last few years, due to its industrial as well as scientific importance. Previously, the gene cg0156 was shown to belong to the regulon of McbR, a global transcriptional repressor of sulphur metabolism in C. glutamicum. This gene encodes a putative ROK-type regulator, a paralogue of the activator of sulphonate utilisation, SsuR. Therefore, it is an interesting candidate for study to further the understanding of the regulation of sulphur metabolism in C. glutamicum.
Results
Deletion of cg0156, now designated cysR, results in the inability of the mutant to utilise sulphate and aliphatic sulphonates. DNA microarray hybridisations revealed 49 genes with significantly increased and 48 with decreased transcript levels in presence of the native CysR compared to a cysR deletion mutant. Among the genes positively controlled by CysR were the gene cluster involved in sulphate reduction, fpr2 cysIXHDNYZ, and ssuR. Gel retardation experiments demonstrated that binding of CysR to DNA depends in vitro on the presence of either O-acetyl-L-serine or O-acetyl-L-homoserine. Mapping of the transcription start points of five transcription units helped to identify a 10 bp inverted repeat as the possible CysR binding site. Subsequent in vivo tests proved this motif to be necessary for CysR-dependent transcriptional regulation.
Conclusion
CysR acts as the functional analogue of the unrelated LysR-type regulator CysB from Escherichia coli, controlling sulphide production in response to acceptor availability. In both bacteria, gene duplication events seem to have taken place which resulted in the evolution of dedicated regulators for the control of sulphonate utilisation. The striking convergent evolution of network topology indicates the strong selective pressure to control the metabolism of the essential but often toxic sulphur-containing (bio-)molecules.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-9-483
PMCID: PMC2580772  PMID: 18854009
12.  The alternative sigma factor SigB of Corynebacterium glutamicum modulates global gene expression during transition from exponential growth to stationary phase 
BMC Genomics  2007;8:4.
Background
Corynebacterium glutamicum is a gram-positive soil bacterium widely used for the industrial production of amino acids. There is great interest in the examination of the molecular mechanism of transcription control. One of these control mechanisms are sigma factors. C. glutamicum ATCC 13032 has seven putative sigma factor-encoding genes, including sigA and sigB. The sigA gene encodes the essential primary sigma factor of C. glutamicum and is responsible for promoter recognition of house-keeping genes. The sigB gene codes for the non-essential sigma factor SigB that has a proposed role in stress reponse.
Results
The sigB gene expression was highest at transition between exponential growth and stationary phase, when the amount of sigA mRNA was already decreasing. Genome-wide transcription profiles of the wild-type and the sigB mutant were recorded by comparative DNA microarray hybridizations. The data indicated that the mRNA levels of 111 genes are significantly changed in the sigB-proficient strain during the transition phase, whereas the expression profile of the sigB-deficient strain showed only minor changes (26 genes). The genes that are higher expressed during transition phase only in the sigB-proficient strain mainly belong to the functional categories amino acid metabolism, carbon metabolism, stress defense, membrane processes, and phosphorus metabolism. The transcription start points of six of these genes were determined and the deduced promoter sequences turned out to be indistinguishable from that of the consensus promoter recognized by SigA. Real-time reverse transcription PCR assays revealed that the expression profiles of these genes during growth were similar to that of the sigB gene itself. In the sigB mutant, however, the transcription profiles resembled that of the sigA gene encoding the house-keeping sigma factor.
Conclusion
During transition phase, the sigB gene showed an enhanced expression, while simultaneously the sigA mRNA decreased in abundance. This might cause a replacement of SigA by SigB at the RNA polymerase core enzyme and in turn results in increased expression of genes relevant for the transition and the stationary phase, either to cope with nutrient limitation or with the accompanying oxidative stress. The increased expression of genes encoding anti-oxidative or protection functions also prepares the cell for upcoming limitations and environmental stresses.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-8-4
PMCID: PMC1779776  PMID: 17204139
13.  Global gene expression during stringent response in Corynebacterium glutamicum in presence and absence of the rel gene encoding (p)ppGpp synthase 
BMC Genomics  2006;7:230.
Background
The stringent response is the initial reaction of microorganisms to nutritional stress. During stringent response the small nucleotides (p)ppGpp act as global regulators and reprogram bacterial transcription. In this work, the genetic network controlled by the stringent response was characterized in the amino acid-producing Corynebacterium glutamicum.
Results
The transcriptome of a C. glutamicum rel gene deletion mutant, unable to synthesize (p)ppGpp and to induce the stringent response, was compared with that of its rel-proficient parent strain by microarray analysis. A total of 357 genes were found to be transcribed differentially in the rel-deficient mutant strain. In a second experiment, the stringent response was induced by addition of DL-serine hydroxamate (SHX) in early exponential growth phase. The time point of the maximal effect on transcription was determined by real-time RT-PCR using the histidine and serine biosynthetic genes. Transcription of all of these genes reached a maximum at 10 minutes after SHX addition. Microarray experiments were performed comparing the transcriptomes of SHX-induced cultures of the rel-proficient strain and the rel mutant. The differentially expressed genes were grouped into three classes. Class A comprises genes which are differentially regulated only in the presence of an intact rel gene. This class includes the non-essential sigma factor gene sigB which was upregulated and a large number of genes involved in nitrogen metabolism which were downregulated. Class B comprises genes which were differentially regulated in response to SHX in both strains, independent of the rel gene. A large number of genes encoding ribosomal proteins fall into this class, all being downregulated. Class C comprises genes which were differentially regulated in response to SHX only in the rel mutant. This class includes genes encoding putative stress proteins and global transcriptional regulators that might be responsible for the complex transcriptional patterns detected in the rel mutant when compared directly with its rel-proficient parent strain.
Conclusion
In C. glutamicum the stringent response enfolds a fast answer to an induced amino acid starvation on the transcriptome level. It also showed some significant differences to the transcriptional reactions occuring in Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis. Notable are the rel-dependent regulation of the nitrogen metabolism genes and the rel-independent regulation of the genes encoding ribosomal proteins.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-7-230
PMCID: PMC1578569  PMID: 16961923
14.  Random mutagenesis in Corynebacterium glutamicum ATCC 13032 using an IS6100-based transposon vector identified the last unknown gene in the histidine biosynthesis pathway 
BMC Genomics  2006;7:205.
Background
Corynebacterium glutamicum, a Gram-positive bacterium of the class Actinobacteria, is an industrially relevant producer of amino acids. Several methods for the targeted genetic manipulation of this organism and rational strain improvement have been developed. An efficient transposon mutagenesis system for the completely sequenced type strain ATCC 13032 would significantly advance functional genome analysis in this bacterium.
Results
A comprehensive transposon mutant library comprising 10,080 independent clones was constructed by electrotransformation of the restriction-deficient derivative of strain ATCC 13032, C. glutamicum RES167, with an IS6100-containing non-replicative plasmid. Transposon mutants had stable cointegrates between the transposon vector and the chromosome. Altogether 172 transposon integration sites have been determined by sequencing of the chromosomal inserts, revealing that each integration occurred at a different locus. Statistical target site analyses revealed an apparent absence of a target site preference. From the library, auxotrophic mutants were obtained with a frequency of 2.9%. By auxanography analyses nearly two thirds of the auxotrophs were further characterized, including mutants with single, double and alternative nutritional requirements. In most cases the nutritional requirement observed could be correlated to the annotation of the mutated gene involved in the biosynthesis of an amino acid, a nucleotide or a vitamin. One notable exception was a clone mutagenized by transposition into the gene cg0910, which exhibited an auxotrophy for histidine. The protein sequence deduced from cg0910 showed high sequence similarities to inositol-1(or 4)-monophosphatases (EC 3.1.3.25). Subsequent genetic deletion of cg0910 delivered the same histidine-auxotrophic phenotype. Genetic complementation of the mutants as well as supplementation by histidinol suggests that cg0910 encodes the hitherto unknown essential L-histidinol-phosphate phosphatase (EC 3.1.3.15) in C. glutamicum. The cg0910 gene, renamed hisN, and its encoded enzyme have putative orthologs in almost all Actinobacteria, including mycobacteria and streptomycetes.
Conclusion
The absence of regional and sequence preferences of IS6100-transposition demonstrate that the established system is suitable for efficient genome-scale random mutagenesis in the sequenced type strain C.glutamicum ATCC 13032. The identification of the hisN gene encoding histidinol-phosphate phosphatase in C. glutamicum closed the last gap in histidine synthesis in the Actinobacteria. The system might be a valuable genetic tool also in other bacteria due to the broad host-spectrum of IS6100.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-7-205
PMCID: PMC1590026  PMID: 16901339
15.  The DtxR protein acting as dual transcriptional regulator directs a global regulatory network involved in iron metabolism of Corynebacterium glutamicum 
BMC Genomics  2006;7:21.
Background
The knowledge about complete bacterial genome sequences opens the way to reconstruct the qualitative topology and global connectivity of transcriptional regulatory networks. Since iron is essential for a variety of cellular processes but also poses problems in biological systems due to its high toxicity, bacteria have evolved complex transcriptional regulatory networks to achieve an effective iron homeostasis. Here, we apply a combination of transcriptomics, bioinformatics, in vitro assays, and comparative genomics to decipher the regulatory network of the iron-dependent transcriptional regulator DtxR of Corynebacterium glutamicum.
Results
A deletion of the dtxR gene of C. glutamicum ATCC 13032 led to the mutant strain C. glutamicum IB2103 that was able to grow in minimal medium only under low-iron conditions. By performing genome-wide DNA microarray hybridizations, differentially expressed genes involved in iron metabolism of C. glutamicum were detected in the dtxR mutant. Bioinformatics analysis of the genome sequence identified a common 19-bp motif within the upstream region of 31 genes, whose differential expression in C. glutamicum IB2103 was verified by real-time reverse transcription PCR. Binding of a His-tagged DtxR protein to oligonucleotides containing the 19-bp motifs was demonstrated in vitro by DNA band shift assays. At least 64 genes encoding a variety of physiological functions in iron transport and utilization, in central carbohydrate metabolism and in transcriptional regulation are controlled directly by the DtxR protein. A comparison with the bioinformatically predicted networks of C. efficiens, C. diphtheriae and C. jeikeium identified evolutionary conserved elements of the DtxR network.
Conclusion
This work adds considerably to our currrent understanding of the transcriptional regulatory network of C. glutamicum genes that are controlled by DtxR. The DtxR protein has a major role in controlling the expression of genes involved in iron metabolism and exerts a dual regulatory function as repressor of genes participating in iron uptake and utilization and as activator of genes responsible for iron storage and DNA protection. The data suggest that the DtxR protein acts as global regulator by controlling the expression of other regulatory proteins that might take care of an iron-dependent regulation of a broader transcriptional network of C. glutamicum genes.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-7-21
PMCID: PMC1382209  PMID: 16469103
16.  Functional genomics and expression analysis of the Corynebacterium glutamicum fpr2-cysIXHDNYZ gene cluster involved in assimilatory sulphate reduction 
BMC Genomics  2005;6:121.
Background
Corynebacterium glutamicum is a high-GC Gram-positive soil bacterium of great biotechnological importance for the production of amino acids. To facilitate the rational design of sulphur amino acid-producing strains, the pathway for assimilatory sulphate reduction providing the necessary reduced sulfur moieties has to be known. Although this pathway has been well studied in Gram-negative bacteria like Escherichia coli and low-GC Gram-positives like Bacillus subtilis, little is known for the Actinomycetales and other high-GC Gram-positive bacteria.
Results
The genome sequence of C. glutamicum was searched for genes involved in the assimilatory reduction of inorganic sulphur compounds. A cluster of eight candidate genes could be identified by combining sequence similarity searches with a subsequent synteny analysis between C. glutamicum and the closely related C. efficiens. Using mutational analysis, seven of the eight candidate genes, namely cysZ, cysY, cysN, cysD, cysH, cysX, and cysI, were demonstrated to be involved in the reduction of inorganic sulphur compounds. For three of the up to now unknown genes possible functions could be proposed: CysZ is likely to be the sulphate permease, while CysX and CysY are possibly involved in electron transfer and cofactor biosynthesis, respectively. Finally, the candidate gene designated fpr2 influences sulphur utilisation only weakly and might be involved in electron transport for the reduction of sulphite. Real-time RT-PCR experiments revealed that cysIXHDNYZ form an operon and that transcription of the extended cluster fpr2 cysIXHDNYZ is strongly influenced by the availability of inorganic sulphur, as well as L-cysteine. Mapping of the fpr2 and cysIXHDNYZ promoters using RACE-PCR indicated that both promoters overlap with binding-sites of the transcriptional repressor McbR, suggesting an involvement of McbR in the observed regulation. Comparative genomics revealed that large parts of the extended cluster are conserved in 11 of 17 completely sequenced members of the Actinomycetales.
Conclusion
The set of C. glutamicum genes involved in assimilatory sulphate reduction was identified and four novel genes involved in this pathway were found. The high degree of conservation of this cluster among the Actinomycetales supports the hypothesis that a different metabolic pathway for the reduction of inorganic sulphur compounds than that known from the well-studied model organisms E. coli and B. subtilis is used by members of this order, providing the basis for further biochemical studies.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-6-121
PMCID: PMC1266029  PMID: 16159395
17.  The individual and common repertoire of DNA-binding transcriptional regulators of Corynebacterium glutamicum, Corynebacterium efficiens, Corynebacterium diphtheriae and Corynebacterium jeikeium deduced from the complete genome sequences 
BMC Genomics  2005;6:86.
Background
The genus Corynebacterium includes Gram-positive microorganisms of great biotechnologically importance, such as Corynebacterium glutamicum and Corynebacterium efficiens, as well as serious human pathogens, such as Corynebacterium diphtheriae and Corynebacterium jeikeium. Although genome sequences of the respective species have been determined recently, the knowledge about the repertoire of transcriptional regulators and the architecture of global regulatory networks is scarce. Here, we apply a combination of bioinformatic tools and a comparative genomic approach to identify and characterize a set of conserved DNA-binding transcriptional regulators in the four corynebacterial genomes.
Results
A collection of 127 DNA-binding transcriptional regulators was identified in the C. glutamicum ATCC 13032 genome, whereas 103 regulators were detected in C. efficiens YS-314, 63 in C. diphtheriae NCTC 13129 and 55 in C. jeikeium K411. According to amino acid sequence similarities and protein structure predictions, the DNA-binding transcriptional regulators were grouped into 25 regulatory protein families. The common set of DNA-binding transcriptional regulators present in the four corynebacterial genomes consists of 28 proteins that are apparently involved in the regulation of cell division and septation, SOS and stress response, carbohydrate metabolism and macroelement and metal homeostasis.
Conclusion
This work describes characteristic features of a set of conserved DNA-binding transcriptional regulators present within the corynebacterial core genome. The knowledge on the physiological function of these proteins should not only contribute to our understanding of the regulation of gene expression but will also provide the basis for comprehensive modeling of transcriptional regulatory networks of these species.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-6-86
PMCID: PMC1180825  PMID: 15938759

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