Midbiotics : conjugative plasmids for genetic engineering of natural gut flora
Ruotsalainen, P., Penttinen, R., Mattila, S., & Jalasvuori, M. (2019). Midbiotics : conjugative plasmids for genetic engineering of natural gut flora. Gut Microbes, 10 (6), 643-653. doi:10.1080/19490976.2019.1591136
Published inGut Microbes
DisciplineSolu- ja molekyylibiologia
© 2019 The Authors
The possibility to modify gut bacterial flora has become an important goal, and various approaches are used to achieve desirable communities. However, the genetic engineering of existing microbes in the gut, which are already compatible with the rest of the community and host immune system, has not received much attention. Here, we discuss and experimentally evaluate the possibility to use modified and mobilizable CRISPR-Cas9-endocing plasmid as a tool to induce changes in bacterial communities. This plasmid system (briefly midbiotic) is delivered from bacterial vector into target bacteria via conjugation. Compared to, for example, bacteriophage-based applications, the benefits of conjugative plasmids include their independence of any particular receptor(s) on host bacteria and their relative immunity to bacterial defense mechanisms (such as restriction-modification systems) due to the synthesis of the complementary strand with host-specific epigenetic modifications. We show that conjugative plasmid in association with a mobilizable antibiotic resistance gene targeting CRISPR-plasmid efficiently causes ESBL-positive transconjugants to lose their resistance, and multiple gene types can be targeted simultaneously by introducing several CRISPR RNA encoding segments into the transferred plasmids. In the rare cases where the midbiotic plasmids failed to resensitize bacteria to antibiotics, the CRISPR spacer(s) and their adjacent repeats or larger regions were found to be lost. Results also revealed potential caveats in the design of conjugative engineering systems as well as workarounds to minimize these risks. ...