Expression of recombinant green fluorescent protein in Bacillus methanolicus



Microbial biocatalysts are used in a wide range of industries to produce large scale quantities of proteins, amino acids, and commodity chemicals. While the majority of these processes use glucose or other low-cost sugars as the substrate, Bacillus methanolicus is one example of a biocatalyst that has shown sustained growth on methanol as a carbon source at elevated temperature (50–53°C optimum) resulting in reduced feed and utility costs. Specifically, the complete chemical process enabled by this approach takes methane from natural gas, and following a low-cost conversion to methanol, can be used for the production of high value products. In this study, production of recombinant green fluorescent protein (GFPuv) by B. methanolicus is explored. A plasmid was constructed that incorporates the methanol dehydrogenase (mdh) promoter of B. methanolicus MGA3 together with the GFPuv gene. The plasmid, pNW33N, was shown to be effective for expression in other Bacillus strains, although not previously in B. methanolicus. A published electroporation protocol for transformation of B. methanolicus was modified to result in expression of GFP using plasmid pNW33N-mdh-GFPuv (pNmG). Transformation was confirmed by both agarose gel electrophoresis and by observation of green fluorescence under UV light exposure. The mass yield of cells and protein were measured in shake flask experiments. The optimum concentration of methanol for protein production was found to be at 200 mM. Higher concentrations than 200 mM resulted in slightly higher biomass production but lower amounts of recombinant protein. © 2012 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 2012