Expression of synthetic Phytochelatin EC20 in E. Coli increases its biosorption capacity and cadmium resistance


  • Cleide Barbieri de Souza Universidade de São Paulo
  • Elisabete José Vicente Universidade de São Paulo



Escherichia coli, Phytochelatin, Biosorption, Bioremediation, Cadmium.


In this study E. coli recombinant clones that express the EC20 synthetic phytochelatin intracellularly were constructed. The increasement of Cd2+ biosorption capacity, and, also, the increasement of resistance to this toxic metal were analyzed. A gene that encodes the synthetic phytochelatin EC20 was synthesized in vitro. The EC20 synthetic gene was amplified by PCR, inserted into the DNA cloning vectors pBluescript®KS+ and pGEM®-TEasy, and also into the expression vectors pTE [pET-28(a)® derivative] and pGEX-T4-2®. The obtained recombinant plasmids were employed for genetic transformation of E. coli: pBsKS-EC20 and pGEM-EC20, they were introduced into DH10B and DH5α strains, similarly to pTE-EC20 and pGEX-EC20 that were introduced into BL21 strain. The EC20 expression was confirmed by SDS-PAGE analysis. The recombinant clones’ resistances to Cd2+ were determined by MIC analyses. The MIC for Cd2+ of DH10B/pBKS-EC20 and DH10B/pGEM-EC20 were 2.5 mM (EC20 induced), and 0.312 mM (EC20 repressed); respectively, 16 and 2 times higher than the control DH10B/pBsKS (0.156 mM). The MIC for Cd2+ of BL21/pTE-EC20 was 10.0 mM (EC20 induced) and 2.5 mM (EC20 repressed), compared with the control BL21/pTE which was only 1.25 mM. Analysis of ICP-AES showed that BL21/pGEX-EC20, after growth on the condition of EC20 expression, absorbed 37.5% of Cd2+, and even when cultured into the non-induction condition of EC20 expression, it absorbed 11.5%. These results allow the conclusion that recombinant E. coli clones expressing the synthetic phytochelatin EC20 show increased capacity for Cd2+ biosorption and enhanced resistance to this toxic ion.


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How to Cite

SOUZA, C.B. de and VICENTE, E.J., 2020. Expression of synthetic Phytochelatin EC20 in E. Coli increases its biosorption capacity and cadmium resistance. Bioscience Journal [online], vol. 36, no. 2, pp. 619–627. [Accessed13 April 2024]. DOI 10.14393/BJ-v36n2a2020-42463. Available from:



Biological Sciences