High-level expression of nattokinase inBacillus licheniformisby manipulating signal peptide and signal peptidase

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Nattokinase is an enzyme produced by Bacillus licheniformis and has potential to be used as a drug for treating cardiovascular disease due to its beneficial effects of preventing fibrin clots etc. However, the low activity and titre of this protein produced by B. licheniformis often hinders its application of commercial production. The aim of this work is to improve the nattokinase production by manipulating signal peptides and signal peptidases in B. licheniformis.

Methods and Results:

The P43 promoter, amyL terminator and AprN target gene were used to form the nattokinase expression vector, pHY-SP-NK, which was transformed into B. licheniformis and nattokinase was expressed successfully. A library containing 81 predicted signal peptides was constructed for nattokinase expression in B. licheniformis, with the maximum activity being obtained under the signal peptide of AprE. Among four type I signal peptidases genes (sipS, sipT, sipV, sipW) in B. licheniformis, the deletion of sipV resulted in a highest decrease in nattokinase activity. Overexpression of sipV in B. licheniformis led to a nattokinase activity of 35·60 FU ml−1, a 4·68-fold improvement over activity produced by the initial strain.


This work demonstrates the potential of B. licheniformis for industrial production of nattokinase through manipulation of signal peptides and signal peptidases expression.

Significance and Impact of the Study:

This study has screened the signal peptides of extracellular proteins of B. licheniformis for nattokinase production. Four kinds of Type I signal peptidases genes have been detected respectively in B. licheniformis to identify which one played the vital role for nattokinase production. This study provided a promising strain for industry production of nattokinase.

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