A versatile vector for mycobacterial protein production with a functional minimized acetamidase regulon

Christian Magaña Vergara, Christina Jana Louisa Kallenberg, Miriam Rogasch, Christian Gerhard Hübner, Young Hwa Song*

*Corresponding author for this work


Recombinant protein expression is a prerequisite for diverse investigations of proteins at the molecular level. For targets from Mycobacterium tuberculosis it is favorable to use M. smegmatis as an expression host, a species from the same genus. In the respective shuttle vectors, target gene expression is controlled by the complex tetra-cistronic acetamidase regulon. As a result, the size of those vectors is large, rendering them of limited use, especially when the target proteins are expressed from multi-cistronic operons. Therefore, in the current work we present a versatile new expression vector in which the acetamidase regulon has been minimized by deleting the two genes amiD and amiS. We assessed the functional properties of the resulting vector pMyCA and compared it with those of the existing vector pMyNT that contains the full-length acetamidase regulon. We analyzed the growth features and protein expression patterns of M. smegmatis cultures transformed with both vectors. In addition, we created mCherry expression constructs to spectroscopically monitor the expression properties of both vectors. Our experiments showed that the minimized vector exhibited several advantages over the pMyNT vector. First, the overall yield of expressed protein is higher due to the higher yield of bacterial mass. Second, the heterologous expression was regulated more tightly, offering an expression tool for diverse target proteins. Third, it is suitable for large multi-protein complexes that are expressed from multi-cistronic operons. Additionally, our results propose a new understanding of the regulation mechanism of the acetamidase regulon with the potential to construct more optimized vectors in the future.

Original languageEnglish
JournalProtein Science
Issue number11
Pages (from-to)2302-2311
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 01.11.2017


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