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A T7 RNA polymerase-dependent gene expression system for Bacillus megaterium


Gene expression systems based on the RNA polymerase of the bacteriophage T7 are often the ultimate choice for the high level production of recombinant proteins. During the last decade, the Gram-positive bacterium Bacillus megaterium was established as a useful host for the intra- and extracellular production of heterologous proteins. In this paper, we report on the development of a T7 RNA polymerase-dependent expression system for B. megaterium. The system was evaluated for cytosolic and secretory protein production with green fluorescent protein (GFP) from Aequoria victoria as intracellular and Lactobacillus reuteri levansucrase as extracellular model protein. GFP accumulated rapidly at high levels up to 50 mg/l shake flask culture intracellularly after induction of T7 RNA polymerase gene expression. The addition of rifampicin for the inhibition of B. megaterium RNA polymerase led to an increased stability of GFP. L. reuteri levansucrase was also successfully produced and secreted (up to 20 U/l) into the culture supernatant. However, parallel intracellular accumulation of the protein indicated limitations affiliated with the Sec-dependent protein translocation process.

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We gratefully thank Dr. Patricia Vary for contributing the plasmid pYZ5, and we acknowledge financial support granted by the “Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (SFB 578)”.

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Correspondence to Dieter Jahn.

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Gamer, M., Fröde, D., Biedendieck, R. et al. A T7 RNA polymerase-dependent gene expression system for Bacillus megaterium . Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 82, 1195–1203 (2009).

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  • Bacillus megaterium
  • T7 RNA polymerase
  • Recombinant protein production