Lantibiotic engineering: Molecular characterization and exploitation of lantibiotic-synthesizing enzymes for peptide engineering

Jun Ichi Nagao, Yuji Aso, Kouki Shioya, Jiro Nakayama, Kenji Sonomoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Lanthionine-containing peptide antibiotics called lantibiotics are produced by a large number of Gram-positive bacteria. Nukacin ISK-1 produced by Staphylococcus warneri ISK-1 is type-A(II) lantibiotic. Ribosomally synthesized nukacin ISK-1 prepeptide (NukA) consists of an N-terminal leader peptide followed by a C-terminal propeptide moiety that undergoes several post-translational modification events including unusual amino acid formation by the modification enzyme NukM, cleavage of leader peptide and export by the dual functional ABC transporter NukT, finally yielding a biologically active peptide. Unusual amino acids in lantibiotics contribute to biological activity and also structural stability against proteases. Thus, lantibiotic-synthesizing enzymes have a high potentiality for peptide engineering by introduction of unusual amino acids into desired peptides with altering biological and physicochemical properties, e.g., activity and stability, termed lantibiotic engineering. We report the establishment of a heterologous expression of nukacin ISK-1 biosynthetic gene cluster by the nisin-controlled expression system and discuss our recent progress in understanding of the biosynthetic enzymes for nukacin ISK-1 such as localization, molecular interaction in biophysical and biochemical aspects. Substrate specificity of the lantibiotic-synthesizing enzymes was evaluated by complementation of the biosynthetic enzymes (LctM and LctT) of closely related lantibiotic lacticin 481 for nukacin ISK-1 biosynthesis. We further explored a rapid and powerful tool for introduction of unusual amino acids by co-expression of hexa-histidine-tagged NukA and NukM in Escherichia coli.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-242
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Microbiology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Molecular Biology


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