, Volume 64, Issue 6, pp 806-815
Date: 27 Mar 2004

Site-directed mutagenesis of the hinge region of nisinZ and properties of nisinZ mutants

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To study the role of the hinge region in nisin and to obtain mutants that exhibit altered or new biological activities and functional properties, we changed certain amino acids in the hinge region by performing site-directed mutagenesis with the nisinZ structural gene (nisZ). The results showed that the nisinZ mutants had decreased antimicrobial activities against Micrococcus flavus NCIB8166 and Streptococcus thermophilus. Interestingly, compared with wild nisinZ, mutant N20K nisinZ and M21K nisinZ displayed antimicrobial activity against gram-negative Shigella, Pseudomonas and Salmonella; and they had a higher solubility than wild-type nisinZ. At pH 8, the solubilities of N20K nisinZ and M21K nisinZ were, respectively, three-fold higher and five-fold higher than that of nisinZ. Mutant N20Q nisinZ and M21G nisinZ were considerably more stable than nisinZ at higher temperatures and neutral or alkaline pH. These mutants provided information that the central hinge region in nisinZ plays an important role in providing the conformational flexibility required for the antimicrobial activity on the membrane. Our finding documented that it may well be worth considering the construction of the new nisin mutants with changed inhibitory activity against a wide range of gram-negative bacteria and the improvement of functional properties by site-directed mutagenesis.