Skip to main content


We’d like to understand how you use our websites in order to improve them. Register your interest.

Secretion of a hybrid K. lactis-A. niger β-galactosidase


The β-galactosidase from Kluyveromyces lactis is a protein with an outstanding biotechnological interest. The main limitation to its industrial production is the high cost associated with extraction and downstream processing due to its intracellular nature [1].

Secretion from yeast is an attractive method for producing many heterologous proteins both because of the facility with which genetic manipulations and fermentation can be carried out and because of the fidelity of posttranslational modifications. However, adding a signal sequence is not sufficient to lead recombinant proteins out of the cell: culture conditions play an important role, the wall acts as a molecular sieve but, moreover, structural determinants, present in the protein, may be required for targeting a protein to the medium [2].

In this work, we have constructed hybrid proteins between K. lactis β-galactosidase and Aspergillus niger β-galactosidase, added a signal peptide and analyzed the secretion and the properties of these new hybrid proteins.


The highest levels of extracellular β-galactosidase were obtained when the segment corresponding to the five domain of K. lactis β-galactosidase was replaced by the corresponding five domain of the A. niger β-galactosidase. As medium composition can exert a profound effect on the yield of heterologous protein secretion in yeast, by influencing both cell growth and the specific rate of secretion [3] we examined hybrid β-galactosidase production and secretion on batch liquid cultures on several different media. Best results were obtained in a rich medium in which pH was maintained at 7.0, since pH values under 6.5 or above 7.5 cause a sharp decrease in K. lactis β-galactosidase activity [4]. In this condition the percentage of hybrid β-galactosidase secretion was in the exponential phase 2.2% and reached 16% of the total activity in the stationary phase.


One strategy for improving the secretion of heterologous proteins is through introducing structural modifications. A hybrid protein between K. lactis β-galactosidase and A. niger β-galactosidase was constructed that increase the fraction of enzyme reaching the growth medium. Moreover, we have improved secretion percentages by studying the influence of the culture conditions on heterologous hybrid β-galactosidase secretion.


  1. 1.

    Becerra M, Cerdán ME, Siso MI: Recent progress in Kluyveromyces lactis β-galactosidase. Recent Res Devel Biochem. 2003, 4: 549-559.

  2. 2.

    Katakura Y, Ametani A, Totsuka M, Nagafuchi S, Kaminogawa S: Accelerated secretion of mutant β-lactoglobulin in Saccharomyces cerevisiae resulting from a single amino acid substitution. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1999, 1432: 302-312.

  3. 3.

    Chang CC, Park CS, Ryu DDY: Improvement of heterologous protein productivity through a selected bioprocess strategy and medium design: A case study for recombinant Yarrowia lipolytica fermentation. Appl Biochem Biotechnol. 1998, 74: 173-189.

  4. 4.

    Becerra M, Prado SD, Siso MI, Cerdán ME: New secretory strategies for Kluyveromyces lactis β-galactosidase. Protein Eng. 2001, 14: 379-386. 10.1093/protein/14.5.379.

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Manuel Becerra.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Pereira, Á., Fernández, R., Cerdán, M.E. et al. Secretion of a hybrid K. lactis-A. niger β-galactosidase. Microb Cell Fact 5, P66 (2006).

Download citation


  • Fermentation
  • Aspergillus
  • Lactis
  • Molecular Sieve
  • Heterologous Protein