Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Vol.104, No.11, 5095-5106, 2020
CRISPR interference-based gene repression in the plant growth promoter Paenibacillus sonchi genomovar Riograndensis SBR5
Gene repression using the endonucleolytically deactivated dCas9 protein and sgRNAs (CRISPR interference or CRISPRi) is a useful approach to study gene functions. Here, we established CRISPRi in Paenibacillus sonchi genomovar Riograndensis SBR5, a plant growth promoting bacterium. CRISPRi system with sgRNAs targeting SBR5 endogenous genes spo0A, yaaT and ydjJ and plasmid-borne gfpUV was constructed and analyzed. Flow cytometry analysis revealed a significant decrease of reporter protein GFPUV signal in P. sonchi strains expressing gfpUV sgRNA in comparison with non-targeting controls. CRISPRi-based repression of chromosomal genes for regulation of sporulation spo0A and yaaT decreased sporulation and increased biofilm formation in SBR5. Repression of the sorbitol catabolic gene ydjJ revealed decreased specific activity of YdjJ in crude cell extracts and reduced biomass formation from sorbitol in growth experiments. Our work on CRISPRi-based gene repression serves as basis for gene function studies of the plant growth promoter P. sonchi SBR5. To our knowledge, the present study presents the first tool for gene repression established in Paenibacillus species.Key points center dot CRISPRi toward gene repression was applied for the first time in Paenibacillus.center dot CRISPRi of spo0A and yaaT depleted spores and increased biofilms in SBR5.center dot CRISPRi-based ydjJ repression decreased specific activity of sorbitol dehydrogenase.