3 years ago

An auto-inducible phosphate-controlled expression system of Bacillus licheniformis

Nguyen Thanh Trung, Nguyen Minh Hung, Nguyen Huy Thuan, Nguyen Xuan Canh, Thomas Schweder, Britta Jürgen



A promoter that drives high-level, long-term expression of the target gene under substrate limited growth conditions in the absence of an artificial inducer would facilitate the efficient production of heterologous proteins at low cost. A novel phosphate-regulated expression system was constructed using the promoter of the phytase encoding gene phyL from Bacillus licheniformis for the overexpression of proteins in this industrially relevant host.


It is shown that the phyL promoter enables a strong overexpression of the heterologous genes amyE and xynA in B. licheniformis when cells were subjected to phosphate limitation. Whether B. licheniformis can use phytate as an alternative phosphate source and how this substrate influences the PphyL controlled gene expression under growth conditions with limited inorganic phosphate concentrations were also investigated. It is shown that B. licheniformis cells are able to use sodium phytate as alternative phosphate source. The addition of small amounts of sodium phytate (≤ 5 mM) to the growth medium resulted in a strong induction and overexpression of both model genes in B. licheniformis cells under phosphate limited growth conditions.


The PphyL controlled expression of the investigated heterologous genes in B. licheniformis is strongly auto-induced under phosphate limited conditions. The proposed PphyL expression system enables an overexpression of target genes in B. licheniformis under growth conditions, which can be easily performed in a fed-batch fermentation process.

Open access
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