iScience. 2023-09-15; 26.9: 107500.

Adaptive evolution of a minimal organism with a synthetic genome

Sandberg TE, Wise KS, Dalldorf C, Szubin R, Feist AM, Glass JI, Palsson BO

PMID: 37636038


The bacterial strain JCVI-syn3.0 stands as the first example of a living organism with a minimized synthetic genome, derived from the genome and chemically synthesized . Here, we report the experimental evolution of a syn3.0- derived strain. Ten independent replicates were evolved for several hundred generations, leading to growth rate improvements of > 15%. Endpoint strains possessed an average of 8 mutations composed of indels and SNPs, with a pronounced C/G- > A/T transversion bias. Multiple genes were repeated mutational targets across the independent lineages, including phase variable lipoprotein activation, 5 distinct; nonsynonymous substitutions in the same membrane transporter protein, and inactivation of an uncharacterized gene. Transcriptomic analysis revealed an overall tradeoff reflected in upregulated ribosomal proteins and downregulated DNA and RNA related proteins during adaptation. This work establishes the suitability of synthetic, minimal strains for laboratory evolution, providing a means to optimize strain growth characteristics and elucidate gene functionality.