Engineering of Bacillus subtilis 168 for increased nisin resistance

Mette Hansen, Romilda Wangari, Egon Bech Hansen, Ivan Mijakovic, Peter Ruhdal Jensen

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Nisin is a natural bacteriocin produced commercially by Lactococcus lactis and widely used in the food industry as a preservative because of its broad host spectrum. Despite the low productivity and troublesome fermentation of L. lactis, no alternative cost-effective host has yet been found. Bacillus subtilis had been suggested as a potential host for the biosynthesis of nisin but was discarded due to its sensitivity to the lethal action of nisin. In this study, we have reevaluated the potential of B. subtilis as a host organism for the heterologous production of nisin. We applied transcriptome and proteome analyses of B. subtilis and identified eight genes upregulated in the presence of nisin. We demonstrated that the overexpression of some of these genes boosts the natural defenses of B. subtilis, which allows it to sustain higher levels of nisin in the medium. We also attempted to overcome the nisin sensitivity of B. subtilis by introducing the nisin resistance genes nisFEG and nisI from L. lactis under the control of a synthetic promoter library.
Original languageEnglish
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number21
Pages (from-to)6688-6695
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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