Cloning, expression, and chromosomal stabilization of the Propionibacterium shermanii proline iminopeptidase gene (pip) for food-grade application in Lactococcus lactis

Kees Leenhouts, Albert Bolhuis, Johan Boot, Inge Deutz, Marjolein Toonen, Gerard Venema, Jan Kok, Aat Ledeboer

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24 Citations (Scopus)


Proline iminopeptidase produced by Propionibacterium shermanii plays an essential role in the flavor development of Swiss-type cheeses. The enzyme (Pip) was purified and characterized, and the gene (pip) was cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli and Lactococcus lactis, the latter species being an extensively studied, primary cheese starter culture that is less fastidious in its growth condition requirements than P. shermanii. The levels of expression of the pip gene could be enhanced with a factor 3 to 5 by using a strong constitutive promoter in L. lactis or the inducible tac promoter in E. coli. Stable replication of the rolling-circle replicating (rcr) plasmid, used to express pip in L. lactis, could only be obtained by providing the repA gene in trans. Upon the integration of pip, clear gene dosage effects were observed and stable multicopy integrants could be maintained upon growth under the selective pressure of sucrose. The multicopy integrants demonstrated a high degree of stability in the presence of glucose. This study examines the possibilities to overexpress genes that play an important role in food fermentation processes and shows a variety of options to obtain stable food-grade expression of such genes in L. lactis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4736-4742
Number of pages7
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Ecology

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