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Transcriptional terminators allow leak-free chromosomal integration of genetic constructs in cyanobacteria

Kelly, CL; Taylor, GM; Šatkutė, A; Dekker, L; Heap, JT; (2019) Transcriptional terminators allow leak-free chromosomal integration of genetic constructs in cyanobacteria. Microorganisms , 7 (8) , Article 263. 10.3390/microorganisms7080263. Green open access

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Abstract

Cyanobacteria are promising candidates for sustainable bioproduction of chemicals from sunlight and carbon dioxide. However, the genetics and metabolism of cyanobacteria are less well understood than those of model heterotrophic organisms, and the suite of well-characterised cyanobacterial genetic tools and parts is less mature and complete. Transcriptional terminators use specific RNA structures to halt transcription and are routinely used in both natural and recombinant contexts to achieve independent control of gene expression and to ‘insulate’ genes and operons from one another. Insulating gene expression can be particularly important when heterologous or synthetic genetic constructs are inserted at genomic locations where transcriptional read-through from chromosomal promoters occurs, resulting in poor control of expression of the introduced genes. To date, few terminators have been described and characterised in cyanobacteria. In this work, nineteen heterologous, synthetic or putative native Rho-independent (intrinsic) terminators were tested in the model freshwater cyanobacterium, Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803, from which eleven strong terminators were identified. A subset of these strong terminators was then used to successfully insulate a chromosomally–integrated, rhamnose-inducible rhaBAD expression system from hypothesised ‘read-through’ from a neighbouring chromosomal promoter, resulting in greatly improved inducible control. The addition of validated strong terminators to the cyanobacterial toolkit will allow improved independent control of introduced genes.

Type: Article
Title: Transcriptional terminators allow leak-free chromosomal integration of genetic constructs in cyanobacteria
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3390/microorganisms7080263
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms7080263
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: transcriptional terminators; cyanobacteria; Synechocystis; inducible expression; synthetic biology
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Cell and Developmental Biology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10087233
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