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Tapi A.,Lille University of Science and Technology | Chollet-Imbert M.,Lille University of Science and Technology | Scherens B.,Institute Of Recherches Microbiologiques Jm Wiame | Jacques P.,Lille University of Science and Technology
Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

Bacillus strains produce non-ribosomal lipopeptides that can be grouped into three families: surfactins or lichenysins, iturins and fengycins or plispastatins. These biosurfactants show a broad spectrum of biological activities. To detect strains able to produce these lipopeptides, a new polymerase chain reaction screening approach was developed using degenerated primers based on the intraoperon alignment of adenylation and thiolation nucleic acid domains of all enzymes implicated in the biosynthesis of each lipopeptide family. The comparative bioinformatics analyses of each operon led to the design of four primer pairs for the three families taking into account the differences between open reading frames of each synthetase gene. Tested on different Bacillus sp. strains, this technique was used successfully to detect not only the expected genes in the lipopeptide producing strains but also the presence of a plispastatin gene in Bacillus subtilis ATCC 21332 and a gene showing a high similarity with the polyketide synthase type I gene in the B. subtilis ATCC 6633 genome. It also led to the discovery of the presence of non-ribosomal peptide synthetase genes in Bacillus thuringiensis serovar berliner 1915 and in Bacillus cereus LMG 2098. In addition, this work highlighted the differences between the fengycin and plipastatin operon at DNA level. © 2009 Springer-Verlag. Source

Dutoit R.,Institute Of Recherches Microbiologiques Jm Wiame | Dubois E.,Institute Of Recherches Microbiologiques Jm Wiame | Dubois E.,Luniversite Libre Of Bruxelles | Jacobs E.,Institute Of Recherches Microbiologiques Jm Wiame
Nucleic Acids Research

Diverse tools are available for performing genetic modifications of microorganisms. However, new methods still need to be developed for performing precise genomic engineering without introducing any undesirable side-alteration. Indeed for functional analyses of genomic elements, as well as for some industrial applications, only the desired mutation should be introduced at the locus considered. This article describes a new approach fulfilling these requirements, based on the use of selection systems consisting in truncated genes encoding dominant-negative transcription factors. We have demonstrated dominant-negative effects mediated by truncated Gal4p and Arg81p proteins in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, interfering with galactose and arginine metabolic pathways, respectively. These genes can be used as positive and negative markers, since they provoke both growth inhibition on substrates and resistance to specific drugs. These selection markers have been successfully used for precisely deleting HO and URA3 in wild yeasts. This genetic engineering approach could be extended to other microorganisms. © The Author(s) 2010. Published by Oxford University Press. Source

Dutoit R.,Institute Of Recherches Microbiologiques Jm Wiame | Brandt N.,Institute Of Recherches Microbiologiques Jm Wiame | Legrain C.,Institute Of Recherches Microbiologiques Jm Wiame | Bauvois C.,Institute Of Recherches Microbiologiques Jm Wiame

Several aminopeptidases of the M42 family have been described as tetrahedral-shaped dodecameric (TET) aminopeptidases. A current hypothesis suggests that these enzymes are involved, along with the tricorn peptidase, in degrading peptides produced by the proteasome. Yet the M42 family remains ill defined, as some members have been annotated as cellulases because of their homology with CelM, formerly described as an endoglucanase of Clostridium thermocellum. Here we describe the catalytic functions and substrate profiles CelM and of TmPep1050, the latter having been annotated as an endoglucanase of Thermotoga maritima. Both enzymes were shown to catalyze hydrolysis of nonpolar aliphatic L-amino acid-pNA substrates, the L-leucine derivative appearing as the best substrate. No significant endoglucanase activity was measured, either for TmPep1050 or CelM. Addition of cobalt ions enhanced the activity of both enzymes significantly, while both the chelating agent EDTA and bestatin, a specific inhibitor of metalloaminopeptidases, proved inhibitory. Our results strongly suggest that one should avoid annotating members of the M42 aminopeptidase family as cellulases. In an updated assessment of the distribution of M42 aminopeptidases, we found TET aminopeptidases to be distributed widely amongst archaea and bacteria. We additionally observed that several phyla lack both TET and tricorn. This suggests that other complexes may act downstream from the proteasome. © 2012 Dutoit et al. Source

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