Cloning and functional expression of a food-grade circular bacteriocin, plantacyclin B21AG, in probiotic Lactobacillus plantarum WCFS1

Mian Chee Gor, Aida Golneshin, Thi Thu Hao Van, Robert J. Moore, Andrew T. Smith

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There is an increasing consumer demand for minimally processed, preservative free and microbiologically safe food. These factors, combined with risks of antibiotic resistance, have led to interest in bacteriocins produced by lactic acid bacteria (LAB) as natural food preservatives and as potential protein therapeutics. We previously reported the discovery of plantacyclin B21AG, a circular bacteriocin produced by Lactobacillus plantarum B21. Here, we describe the cloning and functional expression of the bacteriocin gene cluster in the probiotic Lactobacillus plantarum WCFS1. Genome sequencing demonstrated that the bacteriocin is encoded on a 20 kb native plasmid, designated as pB21AG01. Seven open reading frames (ORFs) putatively involved in bacteriocin production, secretion and immunity were cloned into an E. coli/Lactobacillus shuttle vector, pTRKH2. The resulting plasmid, pCycB21, was transformed into L. plantarum WCFS1. The cell free supernatants (CFS) of both B21 and WCFS1 (pCycB21) showed an antimicrobial activity of 800 AU/mL when tested against WCFS1 (pTRKH2) as the indicator strain, showing that functional expression of plantacyclin B21AG had been achieved. Real-time PCR analysis revealed that the relative copy number of pB21AG01 was 7.60 ± 0.79 in L. plantarum B21 whilst pCycB21 and pTRKH2 was 0.51 ± 0.05 and 25.19 ± 2.68 copies respectively in WCFS1. This indicates that the bacteriocin gene cluster is located on a highly stable low copy number plasmid pB21AG01 in L. plantarum B21. Inclusion of the native promoter for the bacteriocin operon from pB21AG01 results in similar killing activity being observed in both the wild type and recombinant hosts despite the lower copy number of pCycB21.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0232806
Number of pages18
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 12 Aug 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Lactobacillus
  • plasmid construction
  • DNA-binding proteins
  • gene prediction
  • plasmids
  • probiotics
  • erythromycin
  • polymerase chain reaction

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