Refereed journal article or data article (A1)

Comparison of alternative integration sites in the chromosome and the native plasmids of the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 in respect to expression efficiency and copy number

List of Authors: Nagy Csaba, Thiel Kati, Mulaku Edita, Mustila Henna, Tamagnini Paula, Aro Eva-Mari, Pacheco Catarina C, Kallio Pauli

Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd.

Publication year: 2021

Journal: Microbial Cell Factories

Journal name in source: Microbial Cell Factories

Volume number: 20

ISSN: 1475-2859



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Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 provides a well-established reference point to cyanobacterial metabolic engineering as part of basic photosynthesis research, as well as in the development of next-generation biotechnological production systems. This study focused on expanding the current knowledge on genomic integration of expression constructs in Synechocystis, targeting a range of novel sites in the chromosome and in the native plasmids, together with established loci used in literature. The key objective was to obtain quantitative information on site-specific expression in reference to replicon copy numbers, which has been speculated but never compared side by side in this host.

An optimized sYFP2 expression cassette was successfully integrated in two novel sites in Synechocystis chromosome (slr0944; sll0058) and in all four endogenous megaplasmids (pSYSM/slr5037-slr5038; pSYSX/slr6037; pSYSA/slr7023; pSYSG/slr8030) that have not been previously evaluated for the purpose. Fluorescent analysis of the segregated strains revealed that the expression levels between the megaplasmids and chromosomal constructs were very similar, and reinforced the view that highest expression in Synechocystis can be obtained using RSF1010-derived replicative vectors or the native small plasmid pCA2.4 evaluated in comparison. Parallel replicon copy number analysis by RT-qPCR showed that the expression from the alternative loci is largely determined by the gene dosage in Synechocystis, thereby confirming the dependence formerly proposed based on literature.

This study brings together nine different integrative loci in the genome of Synechocystis to demonstrate quantitative differences between target sites in the chromosome, the native plasmids, and a RSF1010-based replicative expression vector. To date, this is the most comprehensive comparison of alternative integrative sites in Synechocystis, and provides the first direct reference between expression efficiency and replicon gene dosage in the context. In the light of existing literature, the findings support the view that the small native plasmids can be notably more difficult to target than the chromosome or the megaplasmids, and that the RSF1010-derived vectors may be surprisingly well maintained under non-selective culture conditions in this cyanobacterial host. Altogether, the work broadens our views on genomic integration and the rational use of different integrative loci versus replicative plasmids, when aiming at expressing heterologous genes in Synechocystis.

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Last updated on 2022-02-05 at 16:58