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Microbiology. 1995 Nov;141 ( Pt 11):2873-81.

A non-essential glutamyl aminopeptidase is required for optimal growth of Lactococcus lactis MG1363 in milk.

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Institute of Food Research, Norwich Laboratory, Colney, UK.


Degenerate PCR primers were designed from the N-terminal amino acid sequence of a glutamyl aminopeptidase (PepA) from Lactococcus lactis. These primers were used to screen a lambda library for clones containing the gene (pepA) encoding PepA. The DNA sequence of a 2.1 kb fragment containing pepA was determined. The sequence revealed the presence of one complete and two incomplete open reading frames (ORFs). The complete ORF encodes a putative protein of 353 amino acids with a predicted N-terminal sequence identical to that determined for purified PepA. The pepA gene was subcloned on an Escherichia coli plasmid vector and production of active PepA was confirmed by means of a zymogram. Mutants of L. lactis in which the pepA gene was inactivated grew to normal cell densities in milk but exhibited a reduced growth rate during the exponential phase. Thus whilst PepA is required for optimal growth it is not essential.

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