Antimicrobial peptides targeting gram-negative pathogens, produced and delivered by lactic acid bacteria

Katherine Volzing, Juan Borrero, Michael J. Sadowsky, Yiannis N. Kaznessis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


We present results of tests with recombinant Lactococcus lactis that produce and secrete heterologous antimicrobial peptides with activity against Gram-negative pathogenic Escherichia coli and Salmonella. In an initial screening, the activities of numerous candidate antimicrobial peptides, made by solid state synthesis, were assessed against several indicator pathogenic E. coli and Salmonella strains. Peptides A3APO and Alyteserin were selected as top performers based on high antimicrobial activity against the pathogens tested and on significantly lower antimicrobial activity against L. lactis. Expression cassettes containing the signal peptide of the protein Usp45 fused to the codon-optimized sequence of mature A3APO and Alyteserin were cloned under the control of a nisin-inducible promoter PnisA and transformed into L. lactis IL1403. The resulting recombinant strains were induced to express and secrete both peptides. A3APO- and Alyteserin-containing supernatants from these recombinant L. lactis inhibited the growth of pathogenic E. coli and Salmonella by up to 20-fold, while maintaining the host's viability. This system may serve as a model for the production and delivery of antimicrobial peptides by lactic acid bacteria to target Gram-negative pathogenic bacteria populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)643-650
Number of pages8
JournalACS Synthetic Biology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 15 2013


  • A3APO
  • Alyteserin
  • Escherichia coli
  • food-borne pathogens
  • lactococci
  • probiotics
  • salmonella


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