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Effect of Genome Position on Heterologous Gene Expression in Bacillus subtilis: An Unbiased Analysis

Lookup NU author(s): Christopher Sauer, Simon Syvertsson, Rita Cruz, Professor Colin Harwood, Dr Leendert Hamoen



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


A fixed gene copy number is important for the in silico construction of engineered synthetic networks. However, the copy number of integrated genes depends on their genomic location. This gene dosage effect is rarely addressed in synthetic biology. Two studies in Escherichia colipresented conflicting data on the impact of gene dosage. Here, we investigate how genome location and gene orientation influences expression in Bacillus subtilis. An important difference with the E. coli studies is that we used an unbiased genome integration approach mediated by random transposon insertion. We found that there is a strong gene dosage effect in fast growing B. subtilis cells, which can amount to a 5-fold difference in gene expression. In contrast, gene orientation with respect to DNA replication direction does not influence gene expression. Our study shows that gene dosage should be taken into account when designing synthetic circuits in B. subtilis and presumably other bacteria.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Sauer C, Syvertsson S, Bohorquez LC, Cruz R, Harwood CR, van Rij T, Hamoen LW

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: ACS Synthetic Biology

Year: 2016

Volume: 5

Issue: 9

Pages: 942-947

Print publication date: 16/09/2016

Online publication date: 20/05/2016

Acceptance date: 20/05/2016

Date deposited: 18/07/2016

ISSN (electronic): 2161-5063

Publisher: American Chemical Society


DOI: 10.1021/acssynbio.6b00065


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Funder referenceFunder name
BBSRC DTG PhD studentship
12128NWO STW-Vici grant
317228European Commission
317338European Commission