Bacillus megaterium, the "big beast," is a Gram-positive bacterium with a size of 4 x 1.5 μm. During the last years, it became more and more popular in the field of biotechnology for its recombinant protein production capacity. For the purpose of intra- as well as extracellular protein synthesis several vectors were constructed and commercialized (MoBiTec GmbH, Germany). On the basis of two compatible vectors, a T7 RNA polymerase driven protein production system was established. Vectors for chromosomal integration enable the direct manipulation of the genome. The vitamin B 12 biosynthesis of B. megaterium served as a model for the systematic development of a production strain using these tools. For this purpose, the overexpression of chromosomal and plasmid encoded genes and operons, the synthesis of anti-sense RNA for gene silencing, the removal of inhibitory regulatory elements in combination with the utilization of strong promoters, directed protein design, and the recombinant production of B 12 binding proteins to overcome feedback inhibition were successfully employed. For further system biotechnology based optimization strategies the genome sequence will provide a closer look into genomic capacities of B. megaterium. DNA arrays are available. Proteome, fluxome and metabolome analyses are possible. All data can be integrated by using a novel bioinformatics platform. Finally, the size of the "big beast" B. megaterium invites for cell biology research projects. All these features provide a solid basis for challenging biotechnological approaches.
- Bacillus megaterium
- Protein secretion
- Recombinant protein production
- Vector system
- Vitamin B