Send to

Choose Destination
Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2015 Nov;99(21):8999-9010. doi: 10.1007/s00253-015-6744-5. Epub 2015 Jul 3.

Impact of rare codons and the functional coproduction of rate-limiting tRNAs on recombinant protein production in Bacillus megaterium.

Author information

Institute of Microbiology, Technische Universität Braunschweig, Spielmannstraße 7, 38106, Braunschweig, Germany.
PROTAGEN AG, Otto-Hahn-Straße 15, 44227, Dortmund, Germany.
German Collection for Microorganisms and Cell Cultures (DSMZ), Inhoffenstraße 7, 38124, Braunschweig, Germany.
Institute of Microbiology, Technische Universität Braunschweig, Spielmannstraße 7, 38106, Braunschweig, Germany.
Braunschweig Integrated Centre of Systems Biology (BRICS), Technische Universität Braunschweig, 38106, Braunschweig, Germany.


The Gram-positive bacterium Bacillus megaterium was systematically developed for the plasmid-based production of recombinant proteins at the gram-per-liter scale. The amount of protein produced per cell was found strongly correlated to the codon usage of the heterologous gene of interest in comparison to the codon usage of B. megaterium. For analyzing the influence of rare codons on the translational efficiency and protein production in B. megaterium, a test system using the gene for the green fluorescent protein (GFP) as reporter was established. For this purpose, four consecutive identical codons were introduced into the 5' end of gfp and the resulting variations in GFP formation were quantified. Introduction of the rare codons GCC, CGG, and ACC for alanine, arginine, and threonine reduced GFP production 2.1-, 3.3-, and 1.7-fold in comparison to the favored codons GCU, CGU, and ACA, respectively. Coexpression of the corresponding rare codon tRNA (rctRNA) genes improved GFP production 4.2-, 2.7-, and 1.7-fold, respectively. The system was applied to the production of a formate dehydrogenase (FDH) from Mycobacterium vaccae and an extracellular hydrolase (TFH) from Thermobifida fusca. Coexpression of one to three different rctRNA genes resulted in an up to 18-fold increased protein production. Interestingly, rctRNA gene coexpression also elevated the production of M. vaccae FDH and T. fusca TFH from codon optimized genes, indicating a general positive effect by rctRNA gene overexpression on the protein production in B. megaterium. Thus, the basis for a B. megaterium enhanced production strain coexpressing rctRNA genes was laid.


Bacillus megaterium; Rare codon cluster; Recombinant protein production; tRNA genes

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center