• Biosynthesis of magnetic nanostructures in a foreign organism by transfer of bacterial magnetosome gene clusters.

      Kolinko, Isabel; Lohße, Anna; Borg, Sarah; Raschdorf, Oliver; Jogler, Christian; Tu, Qiang; Pósfai, Mihály; Tompa, Eva; Plitzko, Jürgen M; Brachmann, Andreas; et al. (2014-03)
      The synthetic production of monodisperse single magnetic domain nanoparticles at ambient temperature is challenging. In nature, magnetosomes--membrane-bound magnetic nanocrystals with unprecedented magnetic properties--can be biomineralized by magnetotactic bacteria. However, these microbes are difficult to handle. Expression of the underlying biosynthetic pathway from these fastidious microorganisms within other organisms could therefore greatly expand their nanotechnological and biomedical applications. So far, this has been hindered by the structural and genetic complexity of the magnetosome organelle and insufficient knowledge of the biosynthetic functions involved. Here, we show that the ability to biomineralize highly ordered magnetic nanostructures can be transferred to a foreign recipient. Expression of a minimal set of genes from the magnetotactic bacterium Magnetospirillum gryphiswaldense resulted in magnetosome biosynthesis within the photosynthetic model organism Rhodospirillum rubrum. Our findings will enable the sustainable production of tailored magnetic nanostructures in biotechnologically relevant hosts and represent a step towards the endogenous magnetization of various organisms by synthetic biology.
    • Direct cloning and heterologous expression of the salinomycin biosynthetic gene cluster from Streptomyces albus DSM41398 in Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2).

      Yin, Jia; Hoffmann, Michael; Bian, Xiaoying; Tu, Qiang; Yan, Fu; Xia, Liqiu; Ding, Xuezhi; Stewart, A Francis; Müller, Rolf; Fu, Jun; et al. (2015)
      Linear plus linear homologous recombination-mediated recombineering (LLHR) is ideal for obtaining natural product biosynthetic gene clusters from pre-digested bacterial genomic DNA in one or two steps of recombineering. The natural product salinomycin has a potent and selective activity against cancer stem cells and is therefore a potential anti-cancer drug. Herein, we separately isolated three fragments of the salinomycin gene cluster (salO-orf18) from Streptomyces albus (S. albus) DSM41398 using LLHR and assembled them into intact gene cluster (106 kb) by Red/ET and expressed it in the heterologous host Streptomyces coelicolor (S. coelicolor) A3(2). We are the first to report a large genomic region from a Gram-positive strain has been cloned using LLHR. The successful reconstitution and heterologous expression of the salinomycin gene cluster offer an attractive system for studying the function of the individual genes and identifying novel and potential analogues of complex natural products in the recipient strain.
    • Genetic engineering and heterologous expression of the disorazol biosynthetic gene cluster via Red/ET recombineering.

      Tu, Qiang; Herrmann, Jennifer; Hu, Shengbiao; Raju, Ritesh; Bian, Xiaoying; Zhang, Youming; Müller, Rolf; Helmholtz-Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS),Saarland 9 University, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2016)
      Disorazol, a macrocyclic polykitide produced by the myxobacterium Sorangium cellulosum So ce12 and it is reported to have potential cytotoxic activity towards several cancer cell lines, including multi-drug resistant cells. The disorazol biosynthetic gene cluster (dis) from Sorangium cellulosum (So ce12) was identified by transposon mutagenesis and cloned in a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) library. The 58-kb dis core gene cluster was reconstituted from BACs via Red/ET recombineering and expressed in Myxococcus xanthus DK1622. For the first time ever, a myxobacterial trans-AT polyketide synthase has been expressed heterologously in this study. Expression in M. xanthus allowed us to optimize the yield of several biosynthetic products using promoter engineering. The insertion of an artificial synthetic promoter upstream of the disD gene encoding a discrete acyl transferase (AT), together with an oxidoreductase (Or), resulted in 7-fold increase in disorazol production. The successful reconstitution and expression of the genetic sequences encoding for these promising cytotoxic compounds will allow combinatorial biosynthesis to generate novel disorazol derivatives for further bioactivity evaluation.
    • Room temperature electrocompetent bacterial cells improve DNA transformation and recombineering efficiency.

      Tu, Qiang; Yin, Jia; Fu, Jun; Herrmann, Jennifer; Li, Yuezhong; Yin, Yulong; Stewart, A Francis; Müller, Rolf; Zhang, Youming; Helmholtz-Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS),Saarland 9 University, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2016)
      Bacterial competent cells are essential for cloning, construction of DNA libraries, and mutagenesis in every molecular biology laboratory. Among various transformation methods, electroporation is found to own the best transformation efficiency. Previous electroporation methods are based on washing and electroporating the bacterial cells in ice-cold condition that make them fragile and prone to death. Here we present simple temperature shift based methods that improve DNA transformation and recombineering efficiency in E. coli and several other gram-negative bacteria thereby economizing time and cost. Increased transformation efficiency of large DNA molecules is a significant advantage that might facilitate the cloning of large fragments from genomic DNA preparations and metagenomics samples.