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Microb Biotechnol. 2011 Jan;4(1):98-105. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-7915.2010.00230.x.

Simple, fast and high-efficiency transformation system for directed evolution of cellulase in Bacillus subtilis.

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Department of Biological Systems Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA.


Bacillus subtilis can serve as a powerful platform for directed evolution, especially for secretory enzymes. However, cloning and transformation of a DNA mutant library in B. subtilis are not as easy as they are in Escherichia coli. For direct transformation of B. subtilis, here we developed a new protocol based on supercompetent cells prepared from the recombinant B. subtilis strain SCK6 and multimeric plasmids. This new protocol is simple (restriction enzyme-, phosphatase- and ligase-free), fast (i.e. 1 day) and of high efficiency (i.e. ~107 or ~104 transformants per mg of multimeric plasmid or ligated plasmid DNA respectively). Supercompetent B. subtilis SCK6 cells were prepared by overexpression of the competence master regulator ComK that was induced by adding xylose. The DNA mutant library was generated through a two-round PCR: (i) the mutagenized DNA fragments were generated by error-prone PCR and linearized plasmids were made using high-fidelity PCR, and (ii) the multimeric plasmids were generated based on these two DNA templates by using overlap PCR. Both protein expression level and specific activity of glycoside hydrolase family 5 endoglucanse on regenerated amorphous cellulose were improved through this new system. To our limited knowledge, this study is the first report for enhancing secretory cellulase performance on insoluble cellulose.

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