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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1993 Jan;59(1):213-8.

Properties of nisin Z and distribution of its gene, nisZ, in Lactococcus lactis.

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  • 1Department of Biophysical Chemistry, Netherlands Institute for Dairy Research, Ede.


Two natural variants of the lantibiotic nisin that are produced by Lactococcus lactis are known. They have a similar structure but differ in a single amino acid residue at position 27; histidine in nisin A and asparagine in nisin Z (J.W.M. Mulders, I.J. Boerrigter, H.S. Rollema, R.J. Siezen, and W.M. de Vos, Eur. J. Biochem, 201:581-584, 1991). The nisin variants were purified to apparent homogeneity, and their biological activities were compared. Identical MICs of nisin A and nisin Z were found with all tested indicator strains of six different species of gram-positive bacteria. However, at concentrations above the MICs, with nisin Z the inhibition zones obtained in agar diffusion assays were invariably larger than those obtained with nisin A. This was observed with all tested indicator strains. These results suggest that nisin Z has better diffusion properties than nisin A in agar. The distribution of the nisin variants in various lactococcal strains was determined by amplification of the nisin structural gene by polymerase chain reaction followed by direct sequencing of the amplification product. In this way, it was established that the nisZ gene for nisin Z production is widely distributed, having been found in 14 of the 26 L. lactis strains analyzed.

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