Multiplex CRISPRi system enables the study of stage-specific biofilm genetic requirements in Enterococcus faecalis
Reference: mBio (2020) 11: e01101-20

Enterococcus faecalis is an opportunistic pathogen, which can cause multidrug-resistant life-threatening infections. Gaining a complete understanding of enterococcal pathogenesis is a crucial step in identifying a strategy to effectively treat enterococcal infections. However, bacterial pathogenesis is a complex process often involving a combination of genes and multilevel regulation. Compared to established knockout methodologies, CRISPR interference (CRISPRi) approaches enable the rapid and efficient silencing of genes to interrogate gene products and pathways involved in pathogenesis. As opposed to traditional gene inactivation approaches, CRISPRi can also be quickly repurposed for multiplexing or used to study essential genes. Here, we have developed a novel dual-vector nisin-inducible CRISPRi system in E. faecalis that can efficiently silence via both nontemplate and template strand targeting. Since the nisin-controlled gene expression system is functional in various Gram-positive bacteria, the developed CRISPRi tool can be extended to other genera. This system can be applied to study essential genes, genes involved in antimicrobial resistance, and genes involved in biofilm formation and persistence. The system is robust and can be scaled up for high-throughput screens or combinatorial targeting. This tool substantially enhances our ability to study enterococcal biology and pathogenesis, host-bacterium interactions, and interspecies communication.

Link to article

Published By
Irina AFONINA, Ong J., Chua J., Lu T., Kline K. A.