A Rhamnose-Inducible System for Precise and Temporal Control of Gene Expression in Cyanobacteria

Ciaran Kelly, George Taylor, Andrew Hitchcock, Antonio Torres-Méndez, John Heap

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)
15 Downloads (Pure)


Cyanobacteria are important for fundamental studies of photosynthesis and have great biotechnological potential. In order to better study and fully exploit these organisms, the limited repertoire of genetic tools and parts must be expanded. A small number of inducible promoters have been used in cyanobacteria, allowing dynamic external control of gene expression through the addition of specific inducer molecules. However, the inducible promoters used to date suffer from various drawbacks including toxicity of inducers, leaky expression in the absence of inducer and inducer photolability, the latter being particularly relevant to cyanobacteria, which, as photoautotrophs, are grown under light. Here we introduce the rhamnose-inducible rhaBAD promoter of Escherichia coli into the model freshwater cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 and demonstrate it has superior properties to previously reported cyanobacterial inducible promoter systems, such as a non-toxic, photostable, non-metabolizable inducer, a linear response to inducer concentration and crucially no basal transcription in the absence of inducer.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1056-1066
JournalACS Synthetic Biology
Issue number4
Early online date15 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes


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