Enhancement of acid tolerance in Zymomonas mobilis by a proton-buffering peptide

David J. Baumler, Kai F. Hung, Jeffrey L. Bose, Boris M. Vykhodets, Chorng M. Cheng, Kwang Cheol Jeong, Charles W. Kaspar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


A portion of the cbpA gene from Escherichia coli K-12 encoding a 24 amino acid proton-buffering peptide (Pbp) was cloned via the shuttle vector pJB99 into E. coli JM105 and subsequently into Zymomonas mobilis CP4. Expression of Pbp was confirmed in both JM105 and CP4 by HPLC. Z. mobilis CP4 carrying pJB99-2 (Pbp) exhibited increased acid tolerance (p < 0.05) in acidified TSB (HCl [pH 3.0] or acetic acid [pH 3.5]), glycine-HCl buffer (pH 3.0), and sodium acetate-acetic acid buffer (pH 3.5) in comparison to the parent strain (CP4) and CP4 with pJB99 (control plasmid). Although the expression of Pbp influenced survival at a low pH, the minimum growth pH was unaffected. Growth of Z. mobilis in the presence of ampicillin also significantly increased acid tolerance by an unknown mechanism. Results from this study demonstrate that the production of a peptide with a high proportion of basic amino acids can contribute to protection from low pH and weak organic acids such as acetic acid.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-26
Number of pages12
JournalApplied Biochemistry and Biotechnology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
David Baumler was supported in part by an Edward J. and Katherine L. Schantz fellowship. The work was supported by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Madison.


  • Acid tolerance
  • Ampicillin
  • CbpA
  • Z. mobilis
  • pH homeostasis


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