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J Bacteriol. 1990 Nov;172(11):6339-47.

Cloning, expression, and nucleotide sequence of the Lactobacillus helveticus 481 gene encoding the bacteriocin helveticin J.

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  • 1Department of Food Science, Southeast Dairy Foods Research Center, North Carolina State University, Raleigh 27695-7624.


Lactobacillus helveticus 481 produces a 37-kDa bacteriocin called helveticin J. Libraries of chromosomal DNA from L. helveticus were prepared in lambda gt11 and probed for phage-producing fusion proteins that could react with polyclonal helveticin J antibody. Two recombinant phage, HJ1 and HJ4, containing homologous inserts of 350 and 600 bp, respectively, produced proteins that reacted with antibody. These two phage clones specifically hybridized to L. helveticus 481 total genomic DNA but not to DNA from strains that did not produce helveticin J or strains producing unrelated bacteriocins. HJ1 and HJ4 lysogens produced beta-galactosidase fusion proteins that shared similar epitopes with each other and helveticin J. The intact helveticin J gene (hlv) was isolated by screening a library of L. helveticus chromosomal DNA in lambda EMBL3 with the insert DNA from phage HJ4 as a probe. The DNA sequence of a contiguous 3,364-bp region was determined. Two complete open reading frames (ORF), designated ORF2 and ORF3, were identified within the sequenced fragment. The 3' end of another open reading frame, ORF1, was located upstream of ORF2. A noncoding region and a putative promoter were located between ORF1 and ORF2. ORF2 could encode an 11,808-Da protein. The L. helveticus DNA inserts of the HJ1 and HJ4 clones reside within ORF3, which begins 30 bp downstream from the termination codon of ORF2. ORF3 could encode a 37,511-Da protein. Downstream from ORF3, the 5' end of another ORF (ORF4) was found. A Bg/II fragment containing ORF2 and ORF3 was cloned into pGK12, and the recombinant plasmid, pTRK135, was transformed into Lactobacillus acidophilus via electroporation. Transformants carrying pTRK135 produced a bacteriocin that was heat labile and exhibited an acitivity spectrum that was the same as that of helveticin J.

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