Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Genetics and genetic engineering ofZymomonas mobilis


Present knowledge on the genetics of the ethanologenic anaerobeZymomonas mobilis includes background information on: size, restriction, and to some extent hybridization, analysis of indigenous plasmids; mutagenesis and isolation of a wide variety of auxotrophic, drug resistant and conditional mutants; construction of shuttle cloning vectors able to replicate and express inZ. mobilis; development of gene transfer systems based on conjugal mobilization of plasmids fromEscherichia coli donors toZ. mobilis; expression of heterologous genes inZ. mobilis; cloning and analysis of genes encoding enzymes of the Entner-Doudoroff pathway. Moreover, preliminary data on recombinational repair mechanisms and plasmid stability, which are now available, makeZ. mobilis an attractive model system for molecular genetic research and, furthermore, they contribute towards expansion of the substrate and product range of this industrial microorganism.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Afendra, A.S. & Drainas, C. 1987 Expression and stability of a recombinant plasmid inZymomonas mobilis andEscherichia coli.Journal of General Microbiology 133, 127–134.

  2. Algar, E.M. & Scopes, R. 1985 Studies on cell-free metabolism: ethanol production by extracts ofZymomonas mobilis.Journal of Biotechnology 2, 275–287.

  3. An, H., Scopes, R.K., Rodriguez, M., Keshav, K.F. & Ingram, L.O. 1991 Gel electrophoretic analysis ofZymomonas mobilis glycolytic and fermentative enzymes: Identification of alcohol dehydrogenase II as a stress protein.Journal of Bacteriology 173, 5975–5982.

  4. Barnell, W.O., Yi, K.C. & Conway, T. 1990 Sequence and genetic organization of aZymomonas mobilis gene cluster that encodes several enzymes of glucose metabolism.Journal of Bacteriology 172, 7227–7240.

  5. Berthelin, B., Zucca, J. & Mescle, J.F. 1985 Selection et analyse de mutants thermotolerants deZymomonas mobilis producteurs d'ethanol.Canadian Journal of Microbiology 31, 934–937.

  6. Brau, B. & Sahm, H. 1986 Cloning and expression of the the structural gene for pyruvate decarboxylase ofZymomonas mobilis inE. coli. Archives of Microbiology 144, 296–301.

  7. Brestic-Goachet, N., Gunasekaran, P., Cami, B. & Baratti, J. 1987 Transfer and expression of broad-host range plasmids inZymomonas mobilis.Biotechnology Letters 9, 13–18.

  8. Brestic-Goachet, N., Gunasekaran, P., Cami, B. & Baratti, J.C. 1989 Transfer and expression of anErwinia chrysanthemi cellulase gene inZymomonas mobilis.Journal of General Microbiology 135, 893–902.

  9. Brestic-Goachet, N., Gunasekaran, P., Cami, B. & Baratti, J.C. 1990 Transfer and expression of aBacillus licheniformis α-amylase gene inZymomonas mobilis.Archives of Microbiology 153, 219–225.

  10. Bringer, S., Sahm, H. & Swyzen, W. 1984 Ethanol production byzymomonas mobilis and it's application on an industrial scale.Biotechnology and Bioengineering S14, 311–319.

  11. Bringer-Meyer, S., Scollar, M. & Sahm, H. 1985Zymomonas mobilis mutants blocked in fructose utilization.Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 23, 134–139.

  12. Browne, G.M., Skotnicki, M.L., Goodman, A.E. & Rogers, P.L. 1984 Transformation ofZymomonas mobilis by a hybrid plasmid.Plasmid 12, 211–214.

  13. Buchholz, S.E. & Eveleigh, D.E. 1986 Transfer of plasmids to an antibiotic-sensitive mutant ofZymomonas mobilis.Applied and Environmental Microbiology 52, 336–370.

  14. Buchholz, S.E., O'Mullan, P. & Eveleigh, D.E. 1988 Growth ofZymomonas mobilis CP4 on mannitol.Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 29, 275–281.

  15. Buchholz, S.E., Dooley, M.M. & Eveleigh, D.E. 1989 Growth ofZymomonas on lactose: gene cloning in combination with mutagenesis.Journal of Industrial Microbiology 4, 19–27.

  16. Buchholz, S.E. & Eveleigh, D.E. 1990 Genetic modification ofZymomonas mobilis.Biotechnology Advances 8, 547–581.

  17. Byun, M.O.-K., Kaper, J.B. & Ingram, L.O. 1986 Construction of a new vector for the expression of foreign genes inZymomonas mobilis.Journal of Industrial Microbiology 1, 9–15.

  18. Carey, V.C., Walia, S.K. & Ingram, L.O. 1983 Expression of a lactose transposon (Tn951) inZymomonas mobilis.Applied and Environmental Microbiology 46, 1163–1168.

  19. Cho, D.-W., Rogers, P.L. & Delaney, S.F. 1989 Construction of a shuttle vector forZymomonas mobilis.Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 32, 50–53.

  20. Conway, T., Byun, M.O.-K. & Ingram, L.O. 1987a Expression vector forZymomonas mobilis.Applied and Environmental Microbiology 53, 235–241.

  21. Conway, T., Osman, Y.A., Konnan, J.I., Hoffmann, E.M. & Ingram, L.O. 1987b Promoter and nucleotide sequences of theZymomonas mobilis pyruvate decarboxylase.Journal of Bacteriology 169, 949–954.

  22. Conway, T., Sewell, G.W., Osman, Y.A. & Ingram, L.O. 1987c Cloning and sequencing of the alcohol dehydrogenase II gene fromZymomonas mobilis.Journal of Bacteriology 169, 2591–2597.

  23. Conway, T., Sewell, G.W. & Ingram, L.O. 1987d Glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase gene fromZymomonas mobilis: Cloning, sequencing and identification of promoter region.Journal of Bacteriology 169, 5653–5662.

  24. Conway, T. & Ingram, L.O. 1988 Phosphoglycerate kinase gene fromZymomonas mobilis: Cloning and localization within thegap operon.Journal of Bacteriology 170, 1926–1933.

  25. Conway, T., Fliege, R., Jones-Kilpatric, D., Liu, J., Barnell, W.O. & Egan, S.E. 1991 Cloning, characterization and expression of theZymomonas mobilis eda gene that encodes 2-keto-3-deoxy-6-phosphogluconate aldolase of the Entner-Doudoroff pathway.Molecular Microbiology 5, 2901–2911.

  26. Dimarco, A.A. & Romano, A.H. 1985d-Glucose transport system ofZymomonas mobilis.Applied and Environmental Microbiology 49, 151–157.

  27. Doelle, H.W. & Greenfield, P.F. 1985 The production of ethanol from sucrose usingZymomonas mobilis.Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 22, 405–410.

  28. Drainas, C., Slater, A.A., Coggins, L., Montague, P., Costa, R.G., Ledingham, W.M. & Kinghorn, J.R. 1983 Electron microscopic analysis ofZymomonas mobilis strain ATCC 10988 plasmid DNA.Biotechnology Letters 5, 405–408.

  29. Eddy, C.K., Keshav, K.F., An, H., Utt, E.A., Mejia, J.P. & Ingram, L.O. 1991 Segmental message stabilization as a mechanism for differential expression from theZymomonas mobilis gap operon.Journal of Bacteriology 173, 245–254.

  30. Eveleigh, D.E., Stokes, H.W. & Dally, E.L. 1983 Recombinant DNA approaches to enhancing the ethanol productivity ofZymomonas mobilis. InOrganic Chemicals from Biomass, ed Wise, D.L. pp. 69–91. Menlo Park, CA: Benjamin-Cummings.

  31. Figurski, D.H. & Helsinki, D.R. 1979 Replication of an origin-containing derivative of plasmid RK2 dependent on a plasmid function provided intrans.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 76, 1648–1652.

  32. Galani, I. & Typas, M.A. 1989 Transposon mutagenesis and strain construction inZymomonas mobilis. InGenetic Engineering of Industrial Microorganisms, pp. 63–64. Salamanca, Spain: Commission of the European Communities.

  33. Galani, I., Drainas, C. & Typas, M.A. 1985 Growth requirements and the establishment of a chemically defined minimal medium forZymomonas mobilis.Biotechnology Letters 7, 673–678.

  34. Goodman, A.E., Rogers, P.L. & Skotnicki, M.L. 1982 Minimal medium for isolation of auxotrophicZymomonas mutants.Applied and Environmental Microbiology 44, 496–498.

  35. Goodman, A.E., Strzelecki, A.T. & Rogers, P.L. 1984 Formation of ethanol from lactose byZymomonas mobilis.Journal of Biotechnology 1, 219–228.

  36. Gunasekaran, P., Karunakaran, T., Cami, B., Mukundan, A.G., Preziosi, L. & Baratti, J. 1990a Cloning and sequencing of thesacA gene: Characterization of a sucrase fromZymomonas mobilis.Journal of Bacteriology 172, 6727–6735.

  37. Gunasekaran, P., Karunakaran, T., Nellaiah, H., Kamini, N.E. & Munkundan, A.G. 1990b Current status and prospects of an ethanol producerZymomonas mobilis.Indian Journal of Microbiology 30, 107–133.

  38. Haffie, T.L., Louie, P.W. & Khachatourians, G.G. 1985 Isolation of noninhibitory strains ofZymomons mobilis.Applied and Environmental Microbiology 49, 1007–1009.

  39. Hesman, T.L., Barnell, W.O. & Conway, T. 1991 Cloning, characterization and nucleotide sequence analysis of aZymomonas mobilis phosphoglucose isomerase gene that is subject to carbon source-dependent regulation.Journal of Bacteriology 173, 3215–3223.

  40. Ingram, L.O., Oarey, V.C., Dombeck, K.M., Holt, A.S., Holt, W.A., Osman, Y.A. & Walia, S.K. 1984 Biochemical and genetic improvement ofZymomonas mobilis.Biomass 6, 131–143.

  41. Ingram, L.O., Conway, T., Clark, D.P., Sewell, G.W. & Preston, J.F. 1987 Genetic engineering of ethanol production inEscherichia coli.Applied and Environmental Microbiology 53, 2420–2425.

  42. Ingram, L.O., Eddy, C., Mackenzie, K., Conway, T. & Alterthum, F. 1989 Genetics ofZymomonas mobilis and ethanol production.Developments in Industrial Microbiology 30, 53–69.

  43. Karunakaran, T. & Gunasekaran, P. 1989 Isolation and characterization of recombination deficient mutants ofZymomonas mobilis.Indian Journal of Microbiology 29, 331–337.

  44. Karunakaran, T. & Gunasekaran, P. 1991a Cloning and expression inEscherichia coli of arecA-like gene fromZymomonas mobilis.Current Microbiology 23, 123–129.

  45. Karunakaran, T. & Gunasekaran, P. 1991b Cloning and expression inEscherichia coli of mercuric ion resistance coding genes fromZymomonas mobilis. Journal of Biotechnology 19, 287–300.

  46. Keshav, K.F., Yomano, L.P., An, H. & Ingram, L.O. 1990 Cloning of theZymomonas mobilis structural gene encoding alcohol dehydrogenase I (adhA): Sequence comparison and expression inEscherichia coli.Journal of Bacteriology 172, 2491–2497.

  47. Kolios, G., Lekka, M., Typas, M.A. & Drainas, C. 1989 Bioconversion of fruit and sugar beet extracts byZymomonas mobilis to ethanol and other fine chemicals.Journal of Fermentation and Bioengineering 67, 363–365.

  48. Lawford, G.R., Lavers, B.H., Good, D., Charley, R., Fein, J. & Lawford, H.G. 1983Zymomonas ethanol fermentations: Biochemistry and bioengineering. InEthanol from Biomass. eds Duckworth, H.E. & Thomson, E.A. pp. 482–507 Ottawa: Royal Society of Canada.

  49. Lejeune, A., Eveleigh, D.E. & Colson, C. 1988 Expression of an endoglucanase gene ofPseudomonas fluorescens var.cellulosa inZymomonas mobilis.FEMS Microbiology Letters 49, 363–366.

  50. Liu, C.-Q., Goodman, A.E. & Dunn, N.W. 1988 Expression of clonesXanthomonas d-xylose catabolic genes inZymomonas mobilis.Journal of Biotechnology 7, 61–70.

  51. Loos, H., Voller, M., Rehr, B., Stierhof, Y.-D., Sahm, H. & Sprenger, G.A. 1991 Localization of the glucose-fructose oxidoreductase in wild-type and overproducing strains ofZymomonas mobilis.FEMS Microbiology Letters 84, 211–216.

  52. Mackenzie, K.F., Conway, T., Aldrich, H.C. & Ingram, L.O. 1989 Expression ofZymomonas mobilis adhB (encoding alcohol dehydrogenase II) andadhB-lacZ operon fusions in recombinantZ. mobilis.Journal of Bacteriology 171, 4577–4582.

  53. Misawa, N., Nakamura, K. & Kitamura, K. 1985 Three 1.7 kilobase pair plasmids inZymomonas mobilis NRRL B-806.Agricultural and Biological Chemistry 49, 2769–2771.

  54. Misawa, N., Okamoto, T., Nakamura, K., Kitamura, K., Yanase, H. & Tonomura, K. 1986 Construction of a new shuttle vector forZymomonas mobilis.Agricultural and Biological Chemistry 50, 3201–3203.

  55. Misawa, N. & Nakamura, K. 1989a Nucleotide sequence of the 2.7 kb plasmid ofZymomonas mobilis ATCC 10988.Journal of Biotechnology 12, 63–70.

  56. Misawa, N. & Nakamura, K. 1989b Expression and stability of a β-glucosidase gene ofRumonococcus albus inZymomonas mobilis.Agricultural and Biological Chemistry 53, 723–727.

  57. Misawa, N., Yamano, S. & Ikenaga, H. 1991 Production of β-carotene inZymomonas mobilis andAgrobacterium tumefaciens by introduction of the biosynthesis genes fromErwinia uredovora.Applied and Environmental Microbiology 57, 1847–1849.

  58. Monetenecourt, B.S. 1985Zymomonas, a unique genus of bacteria. InBiology of Industrial Microorganisms, eds Demain, A.L. & Solomon, N.A. pp. 161–181. Menlo Park, CA: Benjamin-Cummings.

  59. Ogale, S.S. & Deobagkar, D.N. 1988 A high molecular weight plasmid ofZymomonas mobilis harbours genes for HgCl2 resistance.Biotechnology Letters 10, 43–48.

  60. Osman, Y.A. & Ingram, L.O. 1987Zymomonas mobilis mutants with an increased rate of alcohol production.Applied and Environmental Microbiology 53, 1425–1432.

  61. Pond, J.L., Eddy, C.K., Mackenzie, K.F., Conway, T., Borecky, D.J. & Ingram, L.O. 1989 Cloning, sequencing and characterization of the principal acid phosphatase, thepho +-product, fromZymomonas mobilis.Journal of Bacteriology 171, 767–774.

  62. Reynen, M., Reipen, I., Sahm, H. & Sprenger, G.A. 1990 Construction of expression vectors for the gram-negative bacteriumZymomonas mobilis.Molecular and General Genetics 223, 335–341.

  63. Sahm, H., Bringer-Meyer, S. & Sprenger, G. 1992 The genusZymomonas. InThe Procaryotes, 2nd edn, eds Balows, al. pp. 2287–2301. Berlin: Springer Verlag.

  64. Schmidt, A., Bringer-Meyer, S., Poralla, K. & Sahm, H. 1986 Effect of alcohols and temperature on the hopanoid content ofZymomonas mobilis.Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 25, 32–36.

  65. Scordaki, A. & Drainas, C. 1987 Analysis of natural plasmids ofZymomonas mobilis ATCC 10988.Journal of General Microbiology 133, 2547–2556.

  66. Scordaki, A. & Drainas, C. 1990 Analysis of plasmid pZMO3 ofZymomonas mobilis ATCC 10988.Plasmid 23, 59–66.

  67. Skotnicki, M.L., Tribe, D.E. & Rogers, P.L. 1980 R-plasmid transfer inZymomonas mobilis.Applied and Environmental Microbiology 40, 7–12.

  68. Skotnicki, M.L., Lee, K., Tribe, D.E. & Rogers, P.L. 1982 Genetic alterations ofZymomonas mobilis for ethanol production.Basic Life Sciences 19, 271–290.

  69. Skotnicki, M.L., Goodman, A.E., Warr, R.G. & Rogers, P.L. 1984 Isolation and characterization ofZymomonas mobilis plasmids.Microbios 40, 53–61.

  70. Sreekumar, O. & Basappa, S.C. 1991 Characterization of a superior thermotolerant mutant ofZymomonas mobilis ZM4 for ethanol production in glucose medium.Biotechnology Letters 13, 365–370.

  71. Stokes, H.W., Dally, E.L., Williams, R.L., Montenecourt, B.S. & Eveleigh, D.E. 1982 Ethanol from biomass — development of aZymomonas genetic system. InChemistry in Energy Production, eds Keller, D.L. & Wymer, R.G. pp. 115–121. Oak Ridge, IN: Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

  72. Stokes, H.W., Dally, E.L., Yablonsky, M.D. & Eveleigh, D.E. 1983 Comparison of plasmids in strains ofZymomonas mobilis.Plasmid 9, 138–146.

  73. Strzelecki, A.T., Goodman, A.E. & Rogers, P.L. 1987 Behavior of the IncW plasmid Sa inZymomonas mobilis.Plasmid 18, 46–53.

  74. Su, P. & Goodman, A.E. 1987 High frequency transformation ofZymomonas mobilis by plasmid DNA.Journal of Biotechnology 6, 247–258.

  75. Su, P., Delaney, S.F. & Rogers, P.L. 1988 Kinetics of plasmid transformation inZymomonas mobilis.Journal of Biotechnology 8, 317–320.

  76. Su, P., Delaney, S.F. & Rogers, P.L. 1989 Cloning and expression of a β-glucosidase gene fromXanthomonas albilineans inEscherichia coli andZymomonas mobilis.Journal of Biotechnology 9, 139–152.

  77. Suntinanalert, P., Pemberton, J.P. & Doelle, H.W. 1986 The production of ethanol plus fructose sweetener using fructose utilization negative mutants ofZymomonas mobilis.Biotechnology Letters 8, 351–356.

  78. Swings, J. & Deley, J. 1977 The biology ofZymomonas.Bacteriological Reviews 41, 1–46.

  79. Tonomura, K., Kurose, N., Konishi, S. & Kawasaki, H. 1982 Occurrence of plasmids inZymomonas mobilis.Agricultural and Biological Chemistry 46, 2851–2853.

  80. Tonomura, K., Okamoto, T., Yasui, M. & Yanase, H. 1986 Shuttle vectors forZymomonas mobilis.Agricultural and Biological Chemistry 50, 805–808.

  81. Typas, M.A. 1986 Physiological and genetical study of the bacteriumZymomonas mobilis for increased ethanol production and/or SCP following the fermentation of low value agricultural products. InBiomolecular Engineering Programme, ed Magnien, E. pp. 667–673. Commission of the European Communities.

  82. Typas, M.A. & Galani, I. 1992 Chemical and UV mutagenesis inZymomonas mobilis. Genetica, in press.

  83. Uhlenbusch, I., Sahm, H. & Sprenger, G.A. 1991 Expression of anl-alanine dehydrogenase gene inZymomonas mobilis and excretion ofl-alanine.Applied and Environmental Microbiology 57, 1360–1366.

  84. Vartholomatos, G., Typas, M.A. & Drainas, C. 1990 Rec-A like mutants ofZymomonas mobilis. In6th International Symposium on Genetics of Industrial Microorganisms, GIM 90, Strasbourg, France, 12–18 August 1990, pp. 155.

  85. Walia, S.K., Carey, V.C., AllIII, B.P. & Ingram, L.O. 1984 Self-transmissible plasmid inZymomonas mobilis carrying antibiotic resistance.Applied Environmental Microbiology 47, 198–200.

  86. Walker, M.J. & Pemberton, J.M. 1988 Construction of transposons encoding genes for β-glucosidase, amylase and polygalacturonate trans-eliminase fromKlebsiella oxytocia and their expression in a range of gram-negative bacteria.Current Microbiology 17, 69–75.

  87. Wecker, M.S.A. & Zall, R.R. 1987 Production of acetaldehyde byZymomonas mobilis.Applied and Environmental Microbiology 53, 2815–2820.

  88. Yablonsky, M.D., Goodman, A.E., Stevnsborg, N., Concalves De Lima, O., Falcao De Morais, J.O., Lawford, H.G., Rogers, P.L. & Eveleigh, D.E. 1988Zymomonas mobilis CP4: A clarification of strains via plasmid profiles.Journal of Biotechnology 9, 71–80.

  89. Yanase, H., Yasui, M., Miyasaki, T. & Tonomura, K. 1985 Fusion of spheroplasts and genetic recombination ofZymomonas mobilis.Agricultural and Biological Chemistry 49, 133–140.

  90. Yanase, H., Kotani, T. & Tonomura, K. 1986a Transformation ofZymomonas mobilis with plasmid DNA.Agricultural and Biological Chemistry 50, 3139–3144.

  91. Yanase, H., Kurii, J. & Tonomura, K. 1986b Construction of a promoter-cloning vector inZymomonas mobilis.Agricultural and Biological Chemistry 50, 2959–2961.

  92. Yanase, H., Masuda, M., Tamaki, T. & Tonomura, K. 1990 Expression of theEscherichia coli α-galactosidase and lactose permease genes inZymomonas mobilis and its raffinose fermentation.Journal of Fermentation and Bioengineering 70, 1–6.

  93. Yoon, K.H., Park, S.H. & Pack, M.Y. 1988 Transfer ofBacillus subtilis endo-β-1,4-glucanase gene intoZymomonas anaerobia.Biotechnology Letters 10, 213–216.

  94. Yoshida, Y., Taira, K., Suzuki, R. & Yagi, Y. 1989 Genetic recombination by spheroplast fusion ofZymomonas auxotrophs.Journal of Fermentation and Bioengineering 68, 286–288.

Download references

Additional information

G.A. Sprenger is with the Institut für Biotechnologie I, Forschungszentrum, KFA Julich, Postfach 1913, D-5170 Julich, Germany. M.A. Typas is with the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular & Cellular Biology and Genetics. University of Athens, Kouponia 105 71 Athens, Greece. C. Drainas is with the Sector of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry, Department of Chemistry, University of loannina, 451 10 loannina, Greece.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Sprenger, G.A., Typas, M.A. & Drainas, C. Genetics and genetic engineering ofZymomonas mobilis . World J Microbiol Biotechnol 9, 17–24 (1993).

Download citation

Key words

  • Cloning vectors
  • ethanol
  • plasmids
  • strain improvement
  • Zymomonas genetics
  • Zymomonas mobilis