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Biosynthesis of a pneumococcal polysaccharide in L. lactis

Biosynthesis of a pneumococcal polysaccharide in L. lactis

L. lactis was successfully engineered for the production of a new polysaccharide. By introduction of the serotype specific part of the Streptococcus pneumoniae gene cluster encoding capsular polysaccharide (CPS, serotype 14) in a L. lactis background that expressed the general, regulatory polysaccharide biosynthesis genes, the resulting L. lactis strain produced a polysaccharide that is biochemically identical to the native pneumococcal polymer. Remarkably, the cassette cloning combination described above was the only combination that led to the production of pneumococcal polysaccharides, indicating a very strict host specificity of the regulatory units involved in polysaccharide biosynthesis. Notably, L. lactis released the type 14 polysaccharide in the medium while Pneumococcus produces a capsular form of this polymer, which is more difficult to isolate and separate from the producing cells. These findings have great potential for the production of polysaccharide ingredients for vaccin preparations that are derived from pathogenic hosts by food-grade bacteria (L. lactis), providing the basis for a patent application.

Technical implementation of this deliverable includes the filing of a patent application related to this work in December of 2004, publication in a scientific journal (in preparation) and presentation of these findings at several meetings. Currently, the possibilities to obtain funding to continue this work are evaluated.

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NIZO food research
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