Background: Polysaccharides comprising plant biomass are potential resources for conversion to fuels and chemicals. These polysaccharides include xylans derived from the hemicellulose of hardwoods and grasses, soluble beta-glucans from cereals and starch as the primary form of energy storage in plants. Paenibacillus sp. JDR-2 (Pjdr2) has evolved a system for bioprocessing xylans. The central component of this xylan utilization system is a multimodular glycoside hydrolase family 10 (GH10) endoxylanase with carbohydrate binding modules (CBM) for binding xylans and surface layer homology (SLH) domains for cell surface anchoring. These attributes allow efficient utilization of xylans by generating oligosaccharides proximal to the cell surface for rapid assimilation. Coordinate expression of genes in response to growth on xylans has identified regulons contributing to depolymerization, importation of oligosaccharides and intracellular processing to generate xylose as well as arabinose and methylglucuronate. The genome of Pjdr2 encodes several other putative surface anchored multimodular enzymes including those for utilization of β-1,3/1,4 mixed linkage soluble glucan and starch. Results: To further define polysaccharide utilization systems in Pjdr2, its transcriptome has been determined by RNA sequencing following growth on barley-derived soluble beta-glucan, starch, cellobiose, maltose, glucose, xylose and arabinose. The putative function of genes encoding transcriptional regulators, ABC transporters, and glycoside hydrolases belonging to the corresponding substrate responsive regulon was deduced by their coordinate expression and locations in the genome. These results are compared to observations from the previously defined xylan utilization systems in Pjdr2. The findings from this study show that Pjdr2 efficiently utilizes these glucans in a manner similar to xylans. From transcriptomic and genomic analyses we infer a common strategy evolved by Pjdr2 for efficient bioprocessing of polysaccharides. Conclusions: The barley β-glucan starch utilization systems in Pjdr2 include extracellular glycoside hydrolases bearing CBM and SLH domains for depolymerization of these polysaccharides. Overlapping regulation observed during growth on these polysaccharides suggests that they are preferentially utilized in the order of starch before xylan before barley β-glucan. These systems defined Pjdr2 may serve as a paradigm for developing biocatalysts for efficient bioprocessing of plant biomass to targeted biofuels and chemicals.
Sawhney, Neha; Crooks, Casey; Chow, Virginia; Preston, James F.; St John, Franz J. 2016. Genomic and transcriptomic analysis of carbohydrate utilization by Paenibacillus sp. JDR-2: systems for bioprocessing plant polysaccharides. BioMedCentral Genomics. 17(131): 17 pp.