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Appl Environ Microbiol. Oct 1996; 62(10): 3662–3667.
PMCID: PMC168174

Controlled gene expression systems for Lactococcus lactis with the food-grade inducer nisin.


The kinetics, control, and efficiency of nisin-induced expression directed by the nisA promoter region were studied in Lactococcus lactis with transcriptional and translational fusions to the gusA reporter genes. In the nisin-producing L. lactis strain NZ9700, the specific beta-glucuronidase activity increased very rapidly after mid-exponential growth until the maximum level at the start of the stationary phase was reached. Expression of the gusA gene was also studied in L. lactis NZ9800, an NZ9700 derivative carrying a deletion in the structural nisA gene that abolishes nisin production, and in L. lactis NZ3900, an MG1363 derivative containing the regulatory nisRK genes integrated in the chromosome. In both strains, beta-glucuronidase activity was linearly dependent on the amount of nisin added to the medium. Without nisin, no beta-glucuronidase production was observed. To optimize translation initiation, an expression vector was constructed by fusing the gusA gene translationally to the start codon of the nisA gene. Use of the translational fusion vector yielded up to six times more beta-glucuronidase activity than the transcriptional fusion vector in these strains after induction by nisin. In this way, gene expression can be achieved in a dynamic range of more than 1,000-fold. The beta-glucuronidase activity was found to be up to 25-fold higher in extracts of strain NZ3900 than in extracts of strain NZ9800. This translational fusion vector was used for high-level production of aminopeptidase N, up to 47% of the total intracellular protein. These results clearly illustrate the potential of the nisin-inducible expression system for overproduction of desired proteins.

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Selected References

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