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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2012 Aug;78(15):5035-42. doi: 10.1128/AEM.00551-12. Epub 2012 May 11.

Accessing the inaccessible: molecular tools for bifidobacteria.

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Institute of Microbiology and Biotechnology, University of Ulm, Ulm, Germany.

Erratum in

  • Appl Environ Microbiol. 2014 Mar;80(5):1807.


Bifidobacteria are an important group of the human intestinal microbiota that have been shown to exert a number of beneficial probiotic effects on the health status of their host. Due to these effects, bifidobacteria have attracted strong interest in health care and food industries for probiotic applications and several species are listed as so-called "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS) microorganisms. Moreover, recent studies have pointed out their potential as an alternative or supplementary strategy in tumor therapy or as live vaccines. In order to study the mechanisms by which these organisms exert their beneficial effects and to generate recombinant strains that can be used as drug delivery vectors or live vaccines, appropriate molecular tools are indispensable. This review provides an overview of the currently available methods and tools to generate recombinant strains of bifidobacteria. The currently used protocols for transformation of bifidobacteria, as well as replicons, selection markers, and determinants of expression, will be summarized. We will further discuss promoters, terminators, and localization signals that have been used for successful generation of expression vectors.

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