• bioactive peptides;
  • recombinant DNA technology;
  • ACE inhibitor;
  • bifidobacteria;
  • functional foods


A wide range of biopeptides potentially able to lower blood pressure through inhibition of the angiotensin-I converting enzyme (ACE) is produced in fermented foods by proteolytic starter cultures. This work applies a procedure based on recombinant DNA technologies for the synthesis and expression of three ACE-inhibitory peptides using a probiotic cell factory. ACE-inhibitory genes and their pro-active precursors were designed, synthesized by PCR, and cloned in Escherichia coli; after which, they were cloned into the pAM1 E. coli-bifidobacteria shuttle vector. After E. coli transformation, constructs carrying the six recombinant clones were electrotransferred into the Bifidobacterium pseudocatenulatum M115 probiotic strain. Interestingly, five of the six constructs proved to be stable. Their expression was confirmed by reverse transcription PCR. Furthermore, transformed strains displayed ACE-inhibitory activity linearly correlated to increasing amounts of cell-free cellular lysates. In particular, 50 μg of lysates from constructs pAM1-Pro-BP3 and pAM1-BP2 showed a 50% higher ACE-inhibitory activity than that of the controls. As a comparison, addition of 50 ng of Pro-BP1 and Pro-BP3 synthetic peptides to 50 μg of cell-free extracts of B. pseudocatenulatum M115 wild-type strain showed an average of 67% of ACE inhibition; this allowed estimating the amount of the peptides produced by the transformants. Engineering of bifidobacteria for the production of biopeptides is envisioned as a promising cell factory model system.