Transformation of, and heterologous protein expression in, Lactobacillus agilis and Lactobacillus vaginalis isolates from the chicken gastrointestinal tract

David B Stephenson, Robert J. Moore, Gwen E Allison

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Lactobacilli are naturally found in the gastrointestinal tract of chickens, and there is interest in utilizing autochthonous strains for the delivery of therapeutic proteins. Previously we identified three chicken-derived Lactobacillus strains, Lactobacillus agilis La3, Lactobacillus vaginalis Lv5, and Lactobacillus crispatus Lc9, which persist in the gastrointestinal tract of chickens fed either a commercial or high-protein diet. In the current study, we investigated the ability to electrotransform these strains, determined plasmid vector stability, and compared reporter gene expression directed by several different promoters. The La3 and Lv5 strains were reproducibly transformed with efficiencies of 10 8 and 10 6 transformants per microgram of plasmid DNA, respectively. The third strain tested, L. crispatus Lc9, was recalcitrant to all transformation protocols examined. The plasmid vectors pTRK563 and pTRKH2 were maintained over 100 generations in La3 and Lv5, respectively. The ability of La3 and Lv5 to express the heterologous reporter gene gfp was analyzed using heterologous and homologous promoters. Transformants of both La3 and Lv5 containing the La3 ldhL promoter were the most fluorescent. To our knowledge, this is the first report of successful transformation and heterologous protein expression in L. agilis and L. vaginalis. The ability of these strains to express heterologous proteins in vitro indicates their potential utility as in vivo delivery vectors for therapeutic peptides to the chicken gastrointestinal tract.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-228
Number of pages9
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes

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