• Antimicrobial antagonists against food pathogens; a bacteriocin perspective

      O'Connor, Paula M.; Ross, R Paul; Hill, Colin; Cotter, Paul D.; Science Foundation Ireland; 12/RC/2273 (Elsevier, 03/02/2015)
      Efforts are continuing to find novel bacteriocins with enhanced specificity and potency. Traditional plating techniques are still being used for bacteriocin screening studies, however, the availability of ever more bacterial genome sequences and the use of in silico gene mining tools have revealed novel bacteriocin gene clusters that would otherwise have been overlooked. Furthermore, synthetic biology and bioengineering-based approaches are allowing scientists to harness existing and novel bacteriocin gene clusters through expression in different hosts and by enhancing functionalities. The same principles apply to bacteriocin producing probiotic cultures and their application to control pathogens in the gut. We can expect that the recent developments on bacteriocins from Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB) described here will contribute greatly to increased commercialisation of bacteriocins in food systems.
    • Antimicrobials for food and feed; a bacteriocin perspective

      O'Connor, Paula M.; Kuniyoshi, Tais M.; Oliveira, Ricardo PS; Hill, Colin; Ross, R Paul; Cotter, Paul D.; Science Foundation Ireland; São Paulo Research Foundation; 12/RC/2273; 2015/24777-0; et al. (Elsevier, 2020-01-20)
      Bacteriocins are natural antimicrobials that have been consumed via fermented foods for millennia and have been the focus of renewed efforts to identify novel bacteriocins, and their producing microorganisms, for use as food biopreservatives and other applications. Bioengineering bacteriocins or combining bacteriocins with multiple modes of action (hurdle approach) can enhance their preservative effect and reduces the incidence of antimicrobial resistance. In addition to their role as food biopreservatives, bacteriocins are gaining credibility as health modulators, due to their ability to regulate the gut microbiota, which is strongly associated with human wellbeing. Indeed the strengthening link between the gut microbiota and obesity make bacteriocins ideal alternatives to Animal Growth Promoters (AGP) in animal feed also. Here we review recent advances in bacteriocin research that will contribute to the development of functional foods and feeds as a consequence of roles in food biopreservation and human/animal health.
    • Impact of Environmental Factors on Bacteriocin Promoter Activity in Gut-Derived Lactobacillus salivarius

      Guinane, Caitriona M.; Piper, Clare; Draper, Lorraine A.; O'Connor, Paula M.; Hill, Colin; Ross, R Paul; Cotter, Paul D.; Science Foundation Ireland; SFI/11/PI/1137 (American Society for Microbiology, 04/09/2015)
      Bacteriocin production is regarded as a desirable probiotic trait that aids in colonization and persistence in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT). Strains of Lactobacillus salivarius, a species associated with the GIT, are regarded as promising probiotic candidates and have a number of associated bacteriocins documented to date. These include multiple class IIb bacteriocins (salivaricin T, salivaricin P, and ABP-118) and the class IId bacteriocin bactofencin A, which show activity against medically important pathogens. However, the production of a bacteriocin in laboratory media does not ensure production under stressful environmental conditions, such as those encountered within the GIT. To allow this issue to be addressed, the promoter regions located upstream of the structural genes encoding the L. salivarius bacteriocins mentioned above were fused to a number of reporter proteins (green fluorescent protein [GFP], red fluorescent protein [RFP], and luciferase [Lux]). Of these, only transcriptional fusions to GFP generated signals of sufficient strength to enable the study of promoter activity in L. salivarius. While analysis of the class IIb bacteriocin promoter regions indicated relatively weak GFP expression, assessment of the promoter of the antistaphylococcal bacteriocin bactofencin A revealed a strong promoter that is most active in the absence of the antimicrobial peptide and is positively induced in the presence of mild environmental stresses, including simulated gastric fluid. Taken together, these data provide information on factors that influence bacteriocin production, which will assist in the development of strategies to optimize in vivo and in vitro production of these antimicrobials.
    • In silico identification of bacteriocin gene clusters in the gastrointestinal tract, based on the Human Microbiome Project’s reference genome database

      Walsh, Calum J.; Guinane, Caitriona M.; Hill, Colin; Ross, R Paul; O'Toole, Paul W.; Cotter, Paul D.; Science Foundation Ireland; SFI/11/PI/1137 (Biomed Central, 16/09/2015)
      Background The human gut microbiota comprises approximately 100 trillion microbial cells which significantly impact many aspects of human physiology - including metabolism, nutrient absorption and immune function. Disturbances in this population have been implicated in many conditions and diseases, including obesity, type-2 diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease. This suggests that targeted manipulation or shaping of the gut microbiota, by bacteriocins and other antimicrobials, has potential as a therapeutic tool for the prevention or treatment of these conditions. With this in mind, several studies have used traditional culture-dependent approaches to successfully identify bacteriocin-producers from the mammalian gut. In silico-based approaches to identify novel gene clusters are now also being utilised to take advantage of the vast amount of data currently being generated by next generation sequencing technologies. In this study, we employed an in silico screening approach to mine potential bacteriocin clusters in genome-sequenced isolates from the gastrointestinal tract (GIT). More specifically, the bacteriocin genome-mining tool BAGEL3 was used to identify potential bacteriocin producers in the genomes of the GIT subset of the Human Microbiome Project’s reference genome database. Each of the identified gene clusters were manually annotated and potential bacteriocin-associated genes were evaluated. Results We identified 74 clusters of note from 59 unique members of the Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, Actinobacteria, Fusobacteria and Synergistetes. The most commonly identified class of bacteriocin was the >10 kDa class, formerly known as bacteriolysins, followed by lantibiotics and sactipeptides. Conclusions Multiple bacteriocin gene clusters were identified in a dataset representative of the human gut microbiota. Interestingly, many of these were associated with species and genera which are not typically associated with bacteriocin production.
    • Strategies to improve the bacteriocin protection provided by lactic acid bacteria

      O'Shea, Eileen F.; Cotter, Paul D.; Ross, R Paul; Hill, Colin; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Science Foundation Ireland; 04R and DC; 07/CE/B1368 (Elsevier, 18/01/2013)
      Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) produce a wide variety of antimicrobial peptides (bacteriocins) which contribute to the safety and preservation of fermented foods. This review discusses strategies that have been or could be employed to further enhance the commercial application of bacteriocins and/or bacteriocin-producing LAB for for food use.