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Metab Eng. 2006 Nov;8(6):662-71. Epub 2006 Aug 4.

Introducing glutathione biosynthetic capability into Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris NZ9000 improves the oxidative-stress resistance of the host.

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The Key Laboratory of Industrial Biotechnology, Ministry of Education, School of Biotechnology, Southern Yangtze University, Wuxi 214036, People's Republic of China.


This study describes how a metabolic engineering approach can be used to improve bacterial stress resistance. Some Lactococcus lactis strains are capable of taking up glutathione, and the imported glutathione protects this organism against H(2)O(2)-induced oxidative stress. L. lactis subsp. cremoris NZ9000, a model organism of this species that is widely used in the study of metabolic engineering, can neither synthesize nor take up glutathione. The study described here aimed to improve the oxidative-stress resistance of strain NZ9000 by introducing a glutathione biosynthetic capability. We show that the glutathione produced by strain NZ9000 conferred stronger resistance on the host following exposure to H(2)O(2) (150 mM) and a superoxide generator, menadione (30 microM). To explore whether glutathione can complement the existing oxidative-stress defense systems, we constructed a superoxide dismutase deficient mutant of strain NZ9000, designated as NZ4504, which is more sensitive to oxidative stress, and introduced the glutathione biosynthetic capability into this strain. Glutathione produced by strain NZ4504(pNZ3203) significantly shortens the lag phase of the host when grown aerobically, especially in the presence of menadione. In addition, cells of NZ4504(pNZ3203) capable of producing glutathione restored the resistance of the host to H(2)O(2)-induced oxidative stress, back to the wild-type level. We conclude that the resistance of L. lactis subsp. cremoris NZ9000 to oxidative stress can be increased in engineered cells with glutathione producing capability.

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