Central metabolism of Bacillus licheniformis

Bacillus licheniformis is used for the large scale biotechnological production of exoenzymes such as proteases and amylases. However, it differs from the model organism Bacillus subtilis in many aspects of its central metabolism: For example B. licheniformis is able to grow well by anaerobic fermentation. The organism is also able to grow on the typical overflow metabolites of Bacilli such as acetate, acetoin and butandiol due to its glyoxylic acid shunt. In our lab we investigate the regulation of fermentative growth, the genes for butandiol assimilation and of the glyoxylic acid shunt in B. licheniformis.

For this work we have sequenced B. licheniformis DSM13 and are using DNA microarrays to investigate gene expression on various substrates. For a detailed molecular analysis we set up a method for markerless gene deletion in this organism and proved the usefulness of the method for the deletion of large and small genomic section. This makes a 'genomic engineering' of B. licheniformis feasible. During our work on the degradation of amino- and organic acids we discovered that there might be some additions to the classical glyoxylic acid shunt.