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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2008 Dec;74(24):7613-9. doi: 10.1128/AEM.00789-08. Epub 2008 Oct 31.

Binding specificity of the lantibiotic-binding immunity protein NukH.

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  • 1Laboratory of Microbial Technology, Division of Microbial Science and Technology, Department of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Faculty of Agriculture, Graduate School, Kyushu University, 6-10-1 Hakozaki, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka 812-8581, Japan.


NukH is a lantibiotic-binding immunity protein that shows strong binding activity against type A(II) lantibiotics. In this study, the binding specificity of NukH was analyzed by using derivatives of nukacin ISK-1, which is a type A(II) lantibiotic produced by Staphylococcus warneri ISK-1. Interactions between cells of Lactococcus lactis transformants expressing nukH and nukacin ISK-1 derivatives were analyzed by using a quantitative peptide-binding assay. Differences in the cell-binding rates of each nukacin ISK-1 derivative suggested that three lysine residues at positions 1 to 3 of nukacin ISK-1 contribute to the effective binding of nukacin ISK-1 to nukH-expressing cells. The binding levels of mutants with lanthionine and dehydrobutyrine substitutions (S11A nukacin(4-27) and T24A nukacin(4-27), respectively) to nukH-expressing cells were considerably lower than those of nukacin(4-27), suggesting that unusual amino acids play a decisive role in NukH recognition. Additionally, it was suggested that T9A nukacin(4-27), a mutant with a 3-methyllanthionine substitution, binds to NukH via an intermolecular disulfide bond after it is weakly recognized by NukH. We succeeded in the detection of specific type A(II) lantibiotics from the culture supernatants of various bacteriocin producers by using the binding specificity of nukH-expressing cells.

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