LYCOPENE PRODUCTION IN MYCOBACTERIUM SMEGMATIS BY EXPRESSION OF CRT GENES FROM MYCOBACTERIUM AURUM AND PROTECTIVE EFFECT OF LYCOPENE IN VIVO AND IN VITRO AGAINST UV RADIATION
Objective: The aim of the present study was to express in Mycobacterium smegmatis the clustered mycobacterial genes coding for lycopene synthesis and to investigate the protective properties of lycopene against ultraviolet (UV) irradiation.
Methods: The genes, which encode the biogenesis of lycopene in Mycobacterium aurum A+, were introduced into Mycobacterium smegmatis by electroporation. The pigments produced were analyzed by thin layer chromatography, and the absorption spectra were determined. A survival test using UV irradiations was also performed.
Results: The transformed Mycobacterium smegmatis were found to synthesize lycopene with important yield (1.41Â± 3.09 mg/g) and was more resistant to ultraviolet irradiation than non-pigmented strain (p<0.01). Furthermore, cells of M. smegmatis not transformed but coated with lycopene are more resistant to UV than those uncoated (p<0.01).
Conclusion: M. smegmatis can form orange colonies on agar plates when it is transformed with the lycopene genes, and the transformants produces 1.41 mg/g (dry weight) of this carotene. Our findings strongly suggest that lycopene has antioxidant activities and prevent the lethal action of UV irradiation on bacterial cells in vivo and in vitro, and deserves further studies considering the amelioration of the production.
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