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Gene. 1997 Feb 28;186(2):255-62.

High level heterologous protein production in Lactococcus and Lactobacillus using a new secretion system based on the Lactobacillus brevis S-layer signals.

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Agricultural Research Centre of Finland, Food Research Institute, Jokioinnen, Finland.


A secretion cassette, based on the expression and secretion signals of a S-layer protein (SlpA) from Lactobacillus brevis, was constructed. E. coli beta-lactamase (Bla) was used as the reporter protein to determine the functionality of the S-layer signals for heterologous expression and secretion in Lactococcus lactis, Lactobacillus brevis, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus gasseri and Lactobacillus casei using a low-copy-number plasmid derived from pGK12. In all hosts tested, the bla gene was expressed under the slpA signals and all Bla activity was secreted to the culture medium. The Lb. brevis S-layer promoters were very efficiently recognized in L. lactis, Lb. brevis and Lb. plantarum, whereas in Lb. gasseri the slpA promoter region appeared to be recognized at a lower level and in Lb. casei the level of transcripts was below the detection limit. The production of Bla was mainly restricted to the exponential phase of growth. The highest yield of Bla was obtained with L. lactis and Lb. brevis. Without pH control, substantial degradation of Bla occurred during prolonged cultivations with all lactic acid bacteria (LAB) tested. When growing L. lactis and Lb. brevis under pH control, the Bla activity could be stabilized also at the stationary phase. L. lactis produced up to 80 mg/l of Bla which to our knowledge represents the highest amount of a heterologous protein secreted by LAB so far. The short production phase implied a very high rate of secretion with a calculated value of 5 x 10(5) Bla molecules/cell per h. Such a high rate was also observed with Lb. plantarum, whereas in Lb. brevis the competition between the wild type slpA gene and the secretion construct probably lowered the rate of Bla production. The results obtained indicate wide applicability of the Lb. brevis slpA signals for efficient protein production and secretion in LAB.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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