Cellulosome gene cluster analysis for gauging the diversity of the ruminal cellulolytic bacterium Ruminococcus flavefaciens

Sadanari Jindou, Jennifer M. Brulc, Maly Levy-Assaraf, Marco T. Rincon, Harry J. Flint, Margret E. Berg, Melissa K. Wilson, Bryan A. White, Edward A. Bayer, Raphael Lamed, Ilya Borovok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ruminococcus flavefaciens is a vital cellulosome-producing fibrolytic rumen bacterium. The arrangement of the cellulosomal scaffoldin gene cluster (scaC-scaA-scaB-cttA-scaE) is conserved in two R. flavefaciens strains (17 and FD-1). Sequence analysis revealed a high mosaic conservation of the intergenic regions in the two strains that contrasted sharply with the divergence of the structural sca gene sequences. Based on the conserved intergenic regions, we designed PCR primers in order to examine the sca gene cluster in additional R. flavefaciens strains (C94, B34b, C1a and JM1). Using these conserved and/or degenerate primers, the scaC, scaA and scaB genes were amplified in all six strains, while the entire sca gene cluster and the proximal genes cttA and scaE were successfully amplified in four of the strains (17, FD-1, C94 and JM1). The sequencing of scaA and scaC genes in all the strains yielded additional insight into the variability of the structural genes with regard to the number and type of cohesin modules contained in a conserved molecular skeleton. Moreover, the scaC gene, being short and variable, appears to be a promising functional phylotyping target for metagenomic population studies of R. flavefaciens in the rumen as a function of the individual host animal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)188-194
Number of pages7
JournalFEMS microbiology letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2008


  • Clostridium cluster IV
  • Cohesins
  • Conserved intergenic regions
  • Functional phylotyping
  • Scaffoldins
  • Strain variability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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