Characterization and identification of weissellicin Y and weissellicin M, novel bacteriocins produced byWeissella hellenicaQU 13

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To identify and characterize novel bacteriocins from Weissella hellenica QU 13.

Methods and Results:

Weissella hellenica QU 13, isolated from a barrel used to make Japanese pickles, produced two novel bacteriocins termed weissellicin Y and weissellicin M. The primary structures of weissellicins Y and M were determined, and their molecular masses were determined to be 4925·12 and 4968·40 Da, respectively. Analysis of the DNA sequence encoding the bacteriocins revealed that they were synthesized and secreted without N-terminal extensions such as leader sequences or sec signal peptides. Weissellicin M showed significantly high and characteristic homology with enterocins L50A and L50B, produced by Enterococcus faecium L50, while weissellicin Y showed no homology with any other known bacteriocins. Both bacteriocins showed broad antimicrobial spectra, with especially high antimicrobial activity against species, which contaminate pickles, such as Bacillus coagulans, and weissellicin M showed relatively higher activity than weissellicin Y. Furthermore, the stability of weissellicin M against pH and heat was distinctively higher than that of weissellicin Y.


Weissella hellenica QU 13 produced two novel leaderless bacteriocins, weissellicin Y and weissellicin M, and weissellicin M exhibited remarkable potency that could be employed by pickle-producing industry.

Significance and Impact of the Study:

This study is the first report, which represents a complete identification and characterization of novel leaderless bacteriocins from Weissella genus.

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