An alternative approach to the use of antibiotic selection markers for maintenance of recombinant plasmid vectors in Escherichia coli based on an aminoacid auxotrophy complementation has been developed. An E. coli M15-derivated glycine-auxotrophic strain of has been constructed by means of a PCR-based approach. This mutant strain contains a deletion in the glyA gene, which encodes for serine hydroxymethyl transferase, an enzyme involved in the main glycine biosynthesis pathway in E. coli. Also, we have constructed the complementation plasmid pQEαβrham derived from the commercially available expression vector pQE40 (QIAGEN) containing the glyA homologous gene under the control of the constitutive weak promoter P3. By using the E. coli M15ΔglyA strain combined with the pQEαβrham plasmid, a successful complementation system was achieved, allowing transformants to grow on minimal media without glycine supplementation. The capability of the new system E. coli M15ΔglyA/pQEαβrham for recombinant overproduction of rhamnulose 1-phosphate aldolase was evaluated in antibiotic free fed-batch cultures at controlled specific growth rate, obtaining high cell density cultures and high RhuA production and productivity levels comparable to those obtained with the conventional system. The new selection marker based on glycine-auxotrophy is a promising genetic tool, not only for recombinant protein production, but also for plasmid DNA production processes, where antibiotics can not be present in the medium formulation. © 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
- Antibiotic-free plasmid selection system
- Escherichia coli
- Glycine auxotrophy complementation
- Recombinant protein production
- Rhamnulose 1-phosphate aldolase