Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 102, Issue 23, pp 10103–10117 | Cite as

Engineering recombinant Lactococcus lactis as a delivery vehicle for BPC-157 peptide with antioxidant activities

  • Katja Škrlec
  • Rudolf Ručman
  • Eva Jarc
  • Predrag Sikirić
  • Urban Švajger
  • Toni Petan
  • Milica Perišić Nanut
  • Borut Štrukelj
  • Aleš BerlecEmail author
Applied genetics and molecular biotechnology


Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are attractive hosts for the expression of heterologous proteins and can be engineered to deliver therapeutic proteins or peptides to mucosal surfaces. The gastric stable pentadecapeptide BPC-157 is able to prevent and treat gastrointestinal inflammation by reducing the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). In this study, we used LAB Lactococcus lactis as a vector to deliver BPC-157 by surface display and trypsin shedding or by secretion to the growth medium. Surface display of BPC-157 was achieved by fusing it with basic membrane protein A (BmpA) or with the peptidoglycan binding domain of AcmA and Usp45 secretion signal. While the expression of BmpA-fusion proteins was higher than that of AcmA/Usp45-fusion protein, the surface display ability of BPC-157 was approximately 14-fold higher with AcmA/Usp45-fusion protein. Release of BPC-157 from the bacterial surface or from isolated fusion proteins by trypsinization was demonstrated with anti-BPC-157 antibodies or by mass spectrometry. The concentration of BPC-157 delivered by surface display via AcmA/Usp45-fusion was 30 ng/ml. This increased to 117 ng/ml by Usp45 signal-mediated secretion, making the latter the most effective lactococcal delivery approach for BPC-157. Secreted BPC-157 significantly decreased ROS production in 149BR fibroblast cell model, suggesting its potential benefit in the treatment of intestinal inflammations. Additionally, a comparison of different modes of small peptide delivery by L. lactis, performed in the present study, will facilitate the future use of L. lactis as peptide delivery vehicle.


Lactococcus lactis BPC-157 Recombinant Peptide delivery Antioxidant Fibroblasts 



The authors are grateful to Prof. Roger pain for critical reading of the manuscript.


This study was funded by the Slovenian Research Agency (grant number P4-0127).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

Not applicable. This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

253_2018_9333_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (515 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 514 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katja Škrlec
    • 1
    • 2
  • Rudolf Ručman
    • 3
  • Eva Jarc
    • 4
    • 5
  • Predrag Sikirić
    • 6
  • Urban Švajger
    • 7
  • Toni Petan
    • 4
  • Milica Perišić Nanut
    • 1
  • Borut Štrukelj
    • 1
    • 8
  • Aleš Berlec
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of BiotechnologyJožef Stefan InstituteLjubljanaSlovenia
  2. 2.Graduate School of Biomedicine, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia
  3. 3.Diagen d.o.oLjubljanaSlovenia
  4. 4.Department of Molecular and Biomedical SciencesJožef Stefan InstituteLjubljanaSlovenia
  5. 5.Jožef Stefan International Postgraduate SchoolLjubljanaSlovenia
  6. 6.Department of Pharmacology and Pathology, Medical FacultyUniversity of ZagrebZagrebCroatia
  7. 7.Blood Transfusion Centre of SloveniaLjubljanaSlovenia
  8. 8.Faculty of PharmacyUniversity of LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia

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