Bacillus subtilis: A Model System for Heterologous Gene Expression

  • Roy H. Doi
  • Xiao-Song He
  • Paula McCready
  • Nouna Bakheit
Part of the Industry-University Cooperative Chemistry Program Symposia book series (IUCC)


Bacillus subtilis has several features that make it a favorable system for studying the expression of foreign genes. B. subtilis is a non-pathogenic organism and makes no known endotoxins and therefore poses no health threat. Furthermore, it has been used historically for making food products in the Orient and has been used widely in industry to produce enzymes such as proteases, alpha-amylases and other degradative enzymes in large quantities. The cells grow readily to high densities in relatively simple media. The growth characteristics and physiology of the cell have been studied extensively. Among prokaryotes it is second only to Escherichia coli in the amount of genetic information that is available about a microorganism. Thus genetic manipulations can be accomplished easily and a large number of suitable mutants and plasmid vectors for genetic engineering are available. Finally, a most interesting feature about B. subtilis is that it produces a large number of proteins that are secreted directly into the growth medium. Harnessing the B. subtilis system would facilitate the construction of re-combinant genes that are expressed efficiently and whose products are secreted in high quantities. Moreover, if a foreign gene product is synthesized and secreted into the growth medium at high levels, its purification is simplified. Thus from the historical, physiological, genetic, and technical viewpoints, B. subtilis would appear to be a good model system for the expression of foreign genes.


Bacillus Subtilis Foreign Gene Extracellular Protease Ribosome Binding Site Atrial Natriuretic Factor 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roy H. Doi
    • 1
  • Xiao-Song He
    • 1
  • Paula McCready
    • 1
  • Nouna Bakheit
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry and BiophysicsUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA

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