Selection and characterization of conditionally active promotors in Lactobacillus plantarum, using alanine racemase as a promotor probe

P.A. Bron, S.M. Hoffer, I.I. van Swam, W.M. de Vos, M. Kleerebezem

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This paper describes the use of the alr gene, encoding alanine racemase, as a promoter-screening tool for the identification of conditional promoters in Lactobacillus plantarum. Random fragments of the L. plantarum WCFS1 genome were cloned upstream of the promoterless alr gene of Lactococcus lactis in a low-copy-number plasmid vector. The resulting plasmid library was introduced into an L. plantarum Deltaalr strain (MD007), and 40,000 clones were selected. The genome coverage of the library was estimated to be 98%, based on nucleotide insert sequence and restriction analyses of the inserts of randomly selected clones. The library was screened for clones that were capable of complementing the D-alanine auxotroph phenotype of MD007 in media containing up to 10, 100, or 300 mug of the competitive Air inhibitor D-cycloserine per ml. Western blot analysis with polyclonal antibodies raised against lactococcal Air revealed that the Air production level required for growth increased in the presence of increasing concentrations Of D-cycloserine, adding a quantitative factor to the primarily qualitative nature of the alr complementation screen. Screening of the alr complementation library for clones that could grow only in the presence of 0.8 M NaCl resulted in the identification of eight clones that upon Western blot analysis showed significantly higher Air production under high-salt conditions than under low-salt conditions. These results established the effectiveness of the alanine racemase complementation screening method for the identification of promoters on their conditional or constitutive activity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-317
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • complete genome sequence
  • green fluorescent protein
  • lactic-acid bacteria
  • lactococcus-lactis
  • escherichia-coli
  • streptococcus-lactis
  • beta-glucuronidase
  • bacillus-subtilis
  • luciferase genes
  • reporter gene


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