Is Bacillus an Alternative Expression System?

  • Jeffery Errington
  • Andrew Mountain


In this review we consider the possible use of Bacillus subtilis as a host for the production of heterologous proteins. There are several potential advantages to be gained from the use of this organism, particularly its efficient secretion of proteins into the growth medium. Although it is unlikely to become the first choice host for the production of certain types of protein, for example potentially therapeutic mammalian proteins, which often undergo specific and necessary post-translation modifications, there are certainly some important groups of proteins, for example industrial enzymes, for which the Bacilli are already heavily used. The market for such enzymes is likely to grow very rapidly as recombinant DNA methods allow for the production of proteins from diverse and often little characterised microorganisms. Exploitation of these natural products will depend upon the development of versatile and robust expression systems, and there is growing evidence that Bacillus will be a useful system. On the other hand, Bacillus has certain undesirable properties as a host, such as the elaboration of proteases, which can cause loss of product by degradation. If such problems can be overcome, and in this review we assess the technical difficulties involved, then B. subtilis may turn out to be the host of choice for the production of many of the new industrial enzymes.


Bacillus Subtilis Heterologous Protein Efficient Secretion Secretion Machinery Homologous Recombination Event 
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Copyright information

© Elsevier Science Publishers Ltd 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffery Errington
    • 1
  • Andrew Mountain
    • 2
  1. 1.Microbiology Unit, Department of BiochemistryUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK
  2. 2.Celltech LtdSloughUK

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