The development of Lactococcus lactis as an antimicrobial agent

Tan, Yu Pei (2010) The development of Lactococcus lactis as an antimicrobial agent. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Non-pathogenic lactic acid bacteria are economically important Gram-positive bacteria used extensively in the food industry. Due to their “generally regarded as safe” status, certain species from the genera Lactobacillus and Lactococcus are also considered desirable as candidates for the production and secretion of recombinant proteins, particular those with therapeutic applications.

The hypothesis examined by this thesis is that Lactococcus lactis can be modified to be an effective antimicrobial agent. Therefore, the aims of this thesis were to investigate the optimisation of the expression, secretion and/or activities of potential heterologous antimicrobial proteins by the model lactic acid bacterium, Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris MG1363.

L. lactis strains were engineered to express and secrete the recombinant CyuC surface protein from Lactobacillus reuteri BR11, and a fusion protein consisting of CyuC and lysostaphin using the Sep promoter and secretion signal. CyuC has been characterised as a cystine-binding protein, but has also been demonstrated to have fibronectin binding activity. Lysostaphin is a bacteriolytic enzyme with specific activity against the Gram-positive pathogen, Staphylococcus aureus. These modified L. lactis strains were then investigated to see if they had the ability to inhibit the adhesion of S. aureus to host extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins. It was observed that the cell extracts of the L. lactis strain with the vector only (pGhost9:ISS1) was able to inhibit the adhesion of S. aureus to fibronectin, whilst the cell extracts of the L. lactis strain expressing lysostaphin was able to inhibit adhesion to keratin.

Finally, this thesis has identified specific lactococcal genes that affect the secretion of lysostaphin through the use of random transposon mutagenesis. Ten mutants with higher lysostaphin activity contained insertions in four different genes encoding: (i) an uncharacterised putative transmembrane protein (llmg_0609), (ii) an enzyme catalysing the first step in peptidoglycan biosynthesis (murA2), (iii) a homolog of the oxidative defence regulator (trmA), and (iv) an uncharacterised putative enzyme involved in ubiquinone biosynthesis (llmg_2148). The higher lysostaphin activity observed in these mutants was found to be due to higher amounts of lysostaphin being secreted.

The findings of this thesis contribute to the development of this organism as an antimicrobial agent and also to our understanding of L. lactis genetics.

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ID Code: 39143
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Giffard, Philip, Huston, Wilhelmina, & Turner, Mark
Keywords: Lactococcus, recombinant protein secretion, lysostaphin, ECM proteins
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 10 Dec 2010 03:02
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 20:00

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