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Open Access Research

Actinoplanes teichomyceticus ATCC 31121 as a cell factory for producing teicoplanin

Carlo Taurino1, Luca Frattini2, Giorgia Letizia Marcone2, Luciano Gastaldo2 and Flavia Marinelli2*

Author Affiliations

1 Farmhispania S.A., Montmelò, Barcelona and Rolabo Outsourcing S.L, Zaragoza, Spain

2 Dipartimento di Biotecnologie e Scienze della Vita, Università degli Studi dell'Insubria, Varese, and The Protein Factory, Centro Interuniversitario di Ricerca in Biotecnologie Proteiche, Politecnico di Milano and Università degli Studi dell'Insubria, Italy

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Microbial Cell Factories 2011, 10:82  doi:10.1186/1475-2859-10-82

Published: 18 October 2011

Abstract

Background

Teicoplanin is a glycopeptide antibiotic used clinically in Europe and in Japan for the treatment of multi-resistant Gram-positive infections. It is produced by fermenting Actinoplanes teichomyceticus. The pharmaceutically active principle is teicoplanin A2, a complex of compounds designated T-A2-1-A2-5 differing in the length and branching of the fatty acid moiety linked to the glucosamine residue on the heptapeptide scaffold. According to European and Japanese Pharmacopoeia, components of the drug must be reproduced in fixed amounts to be authorized for clinical use.

Results

We report our studies on optimizing the fermentation process to produce teicoplanin A2 in A. teichomyceticus ATCC 31121. Robustness of the process was assessed on scales from a miniaturized deep-well microtiter system to flasks and 3-L bioreactor fermenters. The production of individual factors T-A2-1-A2-5 was modulated by adding suitable precursors to the cultivation medium. Specific production of T-A2-1, characterized by a linear C10:1 acyl moiety, is enhanced by adding methyl linoleate, trilinoleate, and crude oils such as corn and cottonseed oils. Accumulation of T-A2-3, characterized by a linear C10:0 acyl chain, is stimulated by adding methyl oleate, trioleate, and oils such as olive and lard oils. Percentages of T-A2-2, T-A2-4, and, T-A2-5 bearing the iso-C10:0, anteiso-C11:0, and iso-C11:0 acyl moieties, respectively, are significantly increased by adding precursor amino acids L-valine, L-isoleucine, and L-leucine. Along with the stimulatory effect on specific complex components, fatty acid esters, oils, and amino acids (with the exception of L-valine) inhibit total antibiotic productivity overall. By adding industrial oils to medium containing L-valine the total production is comparable, giving unusual complex compositions.

Conclusions

Since the cost and the quality of teicoplanin production depend mainly on the fermentation process, we developed a robust and scalable fermentation process by using an industrial medium in which a complex composition can be modulated by the combined addition of suitable precursors. This work was performed in the wild-type strain ATCC 31121, which has a clear genetic background. This is important for starting a rational improvement program and also helps to better control teicoplanin production during process and strain development.