• Bacteriocin Gene-Trait matching across the complete Lactobacillus Pan-genome.

      Collins, Fergus W. J.; O'Connor, Paula M.; O'Sullivan, Orla; Gómez-Sala, Beatriz; Rea, Mary; Hill, Colin; Ross, R Paul; Science Foundation Ireland; SFI/12/RC/227; 13/SIRG/2160 (Nature, 2017-06-14)
      Lactobacilli constitute a large genus of Gram-positive lactic acid bacteria which have widespread roles ranging from gut commensals to starters in fermented foods. A combination of in silico and laboratory-based screening allowed us to determine the overall bacteriocin producing potential of representative strains of each species of the genus. The genomes of 175 lactobacilli and 38 associated species were screened for the presence of antimicrobial producing genes and combined with screening for antimicrobial activity against a range of indicators. There also appears to be a link between the strains’ environment and bacteriocin production, with those from the animal and human microbiota encoding over twice as many bacteriocins as those from other sources. Five novel bacteriocins were identified belonging to differing bacteriocin classes, including two-peptide bacteriocins (muricidin and acidocin X) and circular bacteriocins (paracyclicin). In addition, there was a clear clustering of helveticin type bacteriolysins in the Lactobacillus acidophilus group of species. This combined in silico and in vitro approach to screening has demonstrated the true diversity and complexity of bacteriocins across the genus. It also highlights their biological importance in terms of communication and competition between closely related strains in diverse complex microbial environments.
    • Catabolic flexibility of mammalian-associated lactobacilli

      O'Donnell, Michelle M.; O'Toole, Paul W.; Ross, R Paul (Biomed Central, 16/05/2013)
      Metabolic flexibility may be generally defined as “the capacity for the organism to adapt fuel oxidation to fuel availability”. The metabolic diversification strategies used by individual bacteria vary greatly from the use of novel or acquired enzymes to the use of plasmid-localised genes and transporters. In this review, we describe the ability of lactobacilli to utilise a variety of carbon sources from their current or new environments in order to grow and survive. The genus Lactobacillus now includes more than 150 species, many with adaptive capabilities, broad metabolic capacity and species/strain variance. They are therefore, an informative example of a cell factory capable of adapting to new niches with differing nutritional landscapes. Indeed, lactobacilli naturally colonise and grow in a wide variety of environmental niches which include the roots and foliage of plants, silage, various fermented foods and beverages, the human vagina and the mammalian gastrointestinal tract (GIT; including the mouth, stomach, small intestine and large intestine). Here we primarily describe the metabolic flexibility of some lactobacilli isolated from the mammalian gastrointestinal tract, and we also describe some of the food-associated species with a proven ability to adapt to the GIT. As examples this review concentrates on the following species - Lb. plantarum, Lb. acidophilus, Lb. ruminis, Lb. salivarius, Lb. reuteri and Lb. sakei, to highlight the diversity and inter-relationships between the catabolic nature of species within the genus.