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Quantitative proteomic analysis of the influence of lignin on biofuel production by Clostridium acetobutylicum ATCC 824

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Phillip Wright



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Background: Clostridium acetobutylicum has been a focus of research because of its ability to produce high-value compounds that can be used as biofuels. Lignocellulose is a promising feedstock, but the lignin-cellulose-hemicellulose biomass complex requires chemical pre-treatment to yield fermentable saccharides, including cellulose-derived cellobiose, prior to bioproduction of acetone-butanol-ethanol (ABE) and hydrogen. Fermentation capability is limited by lignin and thus process optimization requires knowledge of lignin inhibition. The effects of lignin on cellular metabolism were evaluated for C. acetobutylicum grown on medium containing either cellobiose only or cellobiose plus lignin. Microscopy, gas chromatography and 8-plex iTRAQ-based quantitative proteomic technologies were applied to interrogate the effect of lignin on cellular morphology, fermentation and the proteome.Results: Our results demonstrate that C. acetobutylicum has reduced performance for solvent production when lignin is present in the medium. Medium supplemented with 1 g L-1 of lignin led to delay and decreased solvents production (ethanol; 0.47 g L-1 for cellobiose and 0.27 g L-1 for cellobiose plus lignin and butanol; 0.13 g L-1 for cellobiose and 0.04 g L-1 for cellobiose plus lignin) at 20 and 48 h, respectively, resulting in the accumulation of acetic acid and butyric acid. Of 583 identified proteins (FDR < 1 %), 328 proteins were quantified with at least two unique peptides. Up-or down-regulation of protein expression was determined by comparison of exponential and stationary phases of cellobiose in the presence and absence of lignin. Of relevance, glycolysis and fermentative pathways were mostly down-regulated, during exponential and stationary growth phases in presence of lignin. Moreover, proteins involved in DNA repair, transcription/translation and GTP/ATP-dependent activities were also significantly affected and these changes were associated with altered cell morphology.Conclusions: This is the first comprehensive analysis of the cellular responses of C. acetobutylicum to lignin at metabolic and physiological levels. These data will enable targeted metabolic engineering strategies to optimize biofuel production from biomass by overcoming limitations imposed by the presence of lignin.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Raut MP, Couto N, Pham TK, Evans C, Noirel J, Wright PC

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Biotechnology for Biofuels

Year: 2016

Volume: 9

Online publication date: 31/05/2016

Acceptance date: 09/05/2016

Date deposited: 22/07/2016

ISSN (print): 1754-6834

Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd.


DOI: 10.1186/s13068-016-0523-0


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