A short story about a big magic bug

Boyke Bunk, Arne Schulz, Simon Stammen, Richard Münch, Martin J. Warren, Manfred Rohde, Dieter Jahn, Rebekka Biedendieck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-91
Number of pages7
JournalBioengineered Bugs
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Bacillus megaterium
  • Protein secretion
  • Recombinant protein production
  • Vector system
  • Vitamin B

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