Identification of efficient prokaryotic cell-penetrating peptides with applications in bacterial biotechnology

Hyang Mi Lee, Jun Ren, Kha Mong Tran, Byeong Min Jeon, Won Ung Park, Hyunjoo Kim, Kyung Eun Lee, Yuna Oh, Myungback Choi, Dae Sung Kim, Dokyun Na

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


In bacterial biotechnology, instead of producing functional proteins from plasmids, it is often necessary to deliver functional proteins directly into live cells for genetic manipulation or physiological modification. We constructed a library of cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) capable of delivering protein cargo into bacteria and developed an efficient delivery method for CPP-conjugated proteins. We screened the library for highly efficient CPPs with no significant cytotoxicity in Escherichia coli and developed a model for predicting the penetration efficiency of a query peptide, enabling the design of new and efficient CPPs. As a proof-of-concept, we used the CPPs for plasmid curing in E. coli and marker gene excision in Methylomonas sp. DH-1. In summary, we demonstrated the utility of CPPs in bacterial engineering. The use of CPPs would facilitate bacterial biotechnology such as genetic engineering, synthetic biology, metabolic engineering, and physiology studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number205
JournalCommunications Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the C1 Gas Refinery Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (NRF-2016M3D3A1A01913244). This work was also supported by the NRF grant funded by the Korean government (MSIT) (No. NRF-2018R1A5A1025077).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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