Communications biology. 2022-10-19; 5.1: 1109.

Deciphering the transcriptional regulation of the catabolism of lignin-derived aromatics in Rhodococcus opacus PD630

Diao J, Carr R, Moon TS

PMID: 36261484


Rhodococcus opacus PD630 has considerable potential as a platform for valorizing lignin due to its innate "biological funneling" pathways. However, the transcriptional regulation of the aromatic catabolic pathways and the mechanisms controlling aromatic catabolic operons in response to different aromatic mixtures are still underexplored. Here, we identified and studied the transcription factors for aromatic degradation using GFP-based sensors and comprehensive deletion analyses. Our results demonstrate that the funneling pathways for phenol, guaiacol, 4-hydroxybenzoate, and vanillate are controlled by transcriptional activators. The two different branches of the β-ketoadipate pathway, however, are controlled by transcriptional repressors. Additionally, promoter activity assays revealed that the substrate hierarchy in R. opacus may be ascribed to the transcriptional cross-regulation of the individual aromatic funneling pathways. These results provide clues to clarify the molecule-level mechanisms underlying the complex regulation of aromatic catabolism, which facilitates the development of R. opacus as a promising chassis for valorizing lignin.

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