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Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2018 Dec;102(23):10103-10117. doi: 10.1007/s00253-018-9333-6. Epub 2018 Sep 6.

Engineering recombinant Lactococcus lactis as a delivery vehicle for BPC-157 peptide with antioxidant activities.

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Department of Biotechnology, Jožef Stefan Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Graduate School of Biomedicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Diagen d.o.o, Šmartno, Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Department of Molecular and Biomedical Sciences, Jožef Stefan Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Jožef Stefan International Postgraduate School, Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Department of Pharmacology and Pathology, Medical Faculty, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia.
Blood Transfusion Centre of Slovenia, Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Department of Biotechnology, Jožef Stefan Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia.


Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are attractive hosts for the expression of heterologous proteins and can be engineered to deliver therapeutic proteins or peptides to mucosal surfaces. The gastric stable pentadecapeptide BPC-157 is able to prevent and treat gastrointestinal inflammation by reducing the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). In this study, we used LAB Lactococcus lactis as a vector to deliver BPC-157 by surface display and trypsin shedding or by secretion to the growth medium. Surface display of BPC-157 was achieved by fusing it with basic membrane protein A (BmpA) or with the peptidoglycan binding domain of AcmA and Usp45 secretion signal. While the expression of BmpA-fusion proteins was higher than that of AcmA/Usp45-fusion protein, the surface display ability of BPC-157 was approximately 14-fold higher with AcmA/Usp45-fusion protein. Release of BPC-157 from the bacterial surface or from isolated fusion proteins by trypsinization was demonstrated with anti-BPC-157 antibodies or by mass spectrometry. The concentration of BPC-157 delivered by surface display via AcmA/Usp45-fusion was 30 ng/ml. This increased to 117 ng/ml by Usp45 signal-mediated secretion, making the latter the most effective lactococcal delivery approach for BPC-157. Secreted BPC-157 significantly decreased ROS production in 149BR fibroblast cell model, suggesting its potential benefit in the treatment of intestinal inflammations. Additionally, a comparison of different modes of small peptide delivery by L. lactis, performed in the present study, will facilitate the future use of L. lactis as peptide delivery vehicle.


Antioxidant; BPC-157; Fibroblasts; Lactococcus lactis; Peptide delivery; Recombinant

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