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J Appl Microbiol. 2011 Mar;110(3):641-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2672.2010.04914.x. Epub 2010 Dec 23.

Gene cluster for biosynthesis of thermophilin 1277--a lantibiotic produced by Streptococcus thermophilus SBT1277, and heterologous expression of TepI, a novel immunity peptide.

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1
Milk Science Research Institute, Megmilk Snow Brand Co. Ltd., Kawagoe, Japan. kabuki@snowbrand.co.jp

Abstract

AIMS:

To identify genes cluster for thermophilin 1277 produced by Streptococcus thermophilus SBT1277.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

To identify genes for thermophilin 1277 production, the chromosomal DNA region surrounding the structural gene, tepA, was sequenced using a primer-walking method. The thermophilin 1277 biosynthesis gene locus (tep) is a 9·9-kb region, which consists of at least ten open reading frames (ORFs) in the following order: tepAMTFEGKRI and ORF4. Homology analysis showed high similarity to genes involved in bovicin HJ50 production by Streptococcus bovis HJ50. tepI encodes a novel, small, positively charged hydrophobic peptide of 52 amino acids, which contains a putative transmembrane segment. By heterologous expression in Lactococcus lactis ssp. cremoris MG1363, the TepI-expressing strain exhibited at least 1·3 times higher resistance to thermophilin 1277.

CONCLUSIONS:

Thermophilin 1277 biosynthesis genes were encoded by a 9·9-kbp region containing at least ten ORFs. TepI is a novel immunity peptide, which protected Strep. thermophilus SBT1277 against thermophilin 1277 in addition to TepFEG, a putative ABC transporter.

SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY:

This is the first report regarding a lantibiotic gene cluster produced by Strep. thermophilus strain.

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