The plasmid complement of Lactococcus lactis UC509.9 encodes multiple bacteriophage resistance systems.
ABSTRACT: Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris strains are used globally for the production of fermented dairy products, particularly hard cheeses. Believed to be of plant origin, L. lactis strains that are used as starter cultures have undergone extensive adaptation to the dairy environment, partially through the acquisition of extrachromosomal DNA in the form of plasmids that specify technologically important phenotypic traits. Here, we present a detailed analysis of the eight plasmids of L. lactis UC509.9, an Irish dairy starter strain. Key industrial phenotypes were mapped, and genes that are typically associated with lactococcal plasmids were identified. Four distinct, plasmid-borne bacteriophage resistance systems were identified, including two abortive infection systems, AbiB and AbiD1, thereby supporting the observed phage resistance of L. lactis UC509.9. AbiB escape mutants were generated for phage sk1, which were found to carry mutations in orf6, which encodes the major capsid protein of this phage.
Project description:Here, we report the complete genome of Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris UC509.9, an Irish dairy starter. The circular chromosome of L. lactis UC509.9 represents the smallest among those of the sequenced lactococcal strains, while its large complement of eight plasmids appears to be a reflection of its adaptation to the dairy environment.
Project description:The complete genome sequence of Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris 3107, a dairy starter strain and a host for the model lactococcal P335 bacteriophage TP901-1, is reported here. The circular chromosome of L. lactis subsp. cremoris 3107 is among the smallest genomes of currently sequenced lactococcal strains. L. lactis subsp. cremoris 3107 harbors a complement of six plasmids, which appears to be a reflection of its adaptation to the nutrient-rich dairy environment.
Project description:Phages of the P335 species infect Lactococcus lactis and have been particularly studied because of their association with strains of L. lactis subsp. cremoris used as dairy starter cultures. Unlike other lactococcal phages, those of the P335 species may have a temperate or lytic lifestyle, and are believed to originate from the starter cultures themselves. We have sequenced the genome of L. lactis subsp. cremoris KW2 isolated from fermented corn and found that it contains an integrated P335 species prophage. This 41 kb prophage (? KW2) has a mosaic structure with functional modules that are highly similar to several other phages of the P335 species associated with dairy starter cultures. Comparison of the genomes of 26 phages of the P335 species, with either a lytic or temperate lifestyle, shows that they can be divided into three groups and that the morphogenesis gene region is the most conserved. Analysis of these phage genomes in conjunction with the genomes of several L. lactis strains shows that prophage insertion is site specific and occurs at seven different chromosomal locations. Exactly how induced or lytic phages of the P335 species interact with carbohydrate cell surface receptors in the host cell envelope remains to be determined. Genes for the biosynthesis of a variable cell surface polysaccharide and for lipoteichoic acids (LTAs) are found in L. lactis and are the main candidates for phage receptors, as the genes for other cell surface carbohydrates have been lost from dairy starter strains. Overall, phages of the P335 species appear to have had only a minor role in the adaptation of L. lactis subsp. cremoris strains to the dairy environment, and instead they appear to be an integral part of the L. lactis chromosome. There remains a great deal to be discovered about their role, and their contribution to the evolution of the bacterial genome.
Project description:A large collection of Lactococcus lactis strains, including wild-type isolates and dairy starter cultures, were screened on the basis of their phenotype and the macrorestriction patterns produced from pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) analysis of SmaI digests of genomic DNA. Three groups of dairy starter cultures, used for different purposes in the dairy industry, and a fourth group made up of strains isolated from the environment were selected for analysis of their chromosomal diversity using the endonuclease I-CeuI. Chromosome architecture was largely conserved with each strain having six copies of the rRNA genes, and the chromosome size of individual strains ranged between 2,240 and 2,688 kb. The origin of L. lactis strains showed the greatest correlation with chromosome size, and dairy strains, particularly those with the cremoris phenotype, had smaller chromosomes than wild-type strains. Overall, this study, coupled with analysis of the sequenced L. lactis genomes, provides evidence that defined strain dairy starter cultures have arisen from plant L. lactis strains. Adaptation of these strains to the dairy environment has involved loss of functions resulting in smaller chromosomes and acquisition of genes (usually plasmid associated) that facilitate growth in milk. We conclude that dairy starter cultures generally and the industrially used cremoris and diacetylactis phenotype strains in particular comprise a specialized group of L. lactis strains that have been selected to become an essential component of industrial processes and have evolved accordingly, so that they are no longer fit to survive outside the dairy environment.
Project description:Undefined mesophilic mixed (DL) starter cultures are used in the production of continental cheeses and contain unknown strain mixtures of Lactococcus lactis and leuconostocs. The choice of starter culture affects the taste, aroma, and quality of the final product. To gain insight into the diversity of Lactococcus lactis strains in starter cultures, we whole-genome sequenced 95 isolates from three different starter cultures. Pan-genomic analyses, which included 30 publically available complete genomes, grouped the strains into 21 L. lactis subsp. lactis and 28 L. lactis subsp. cremoris lineages. Only one of the 95 isolates grouped with previously sequenced strains, and the three starter cultures showed no overlap in lineage distributions. The culture diversity was assessed by targeted amplicon sequencing using purR, a core gene, and epsD, present in 93 of the 95 starter culture isolates but absent in most of the reference strains. This enabled an unprecedented discrimination of starter culture Lactococcus lactis and revealed substantial differences between the three starter cultures and compositional shifts during the cultivation of cultures in milk.IMPORTANCE In contemporary cheese production, standardized frozen seed stock starter cultures are used to ensure production stability, reproducibility, and quality control of the product. The dairy industry experiences significant disruptions of cheese production due to phage attacks, and one commonly used countermeasure to phage attack is to employ a starter rotation strategy, in which two or more starters with minimal overlap in phage sensitivity are used alternately. A culture-independent analysis of the lactococcal diversity in complex undefined starter cultures revealed large differences between the three starter cultures and temporal shifts in lactococcal composition during the production of bulk starters. A better understanding of the lactococcal diversity in starter cultures will enable the development of more robust starter cultures and assist in maintaining the efficiency and stability of the production process by ensuring the presence of key bacteria that are important to the characteristics of the product.
Project description:Lactococcus Ceduovirus (formerly c2virus) bacteriophages are among the three most prevalent phage types reported in dairy environments. Phages from this group conduct a strictly lytic lifestyle and cause substantial losses during milk fermentation processes, by infecting lactococcal host starter strains. Despite their deleterious activity, there are limited research data concerning Ceduovirus phages. To advance our knowledge on this specific phage group, we sequenced and performed a comparative analysis of 10 new Lactococcus lactis Ceduovirus phages isolated from distinct dairy environments. Host range studies allowed us to distinguish the differential patterns of infection of L. lactis cells for each phage, and revealed a broad host spectrum for most of them. We showed that 40% of the studied Ceduovirus phages can infect both cremoris and lactis strains. A preference to lyse strains with the C-type cell wall polysaccharide genotype was observed. Phage whole-genome sequencing revealed an average nucleotide identity above 80%, with distinct regions of divergence mapped to several locations. The comparative approach for analyzing genomic data and the phage lytic spectrum suggested that the amino acid sequence of the orf8-encoded putative tape measure protein correlates with host range. Phylogenetic studies revealed separation of the sequenced phages into two subgroups. Finally, we identified three types of phage origin of replication regions, and showed they are able to support plasmid replication without additional phage proteins.
Project description:Lactococcus lactis is one of the most important micro-organisms in the dairy industry for the fermentation of cheese and buttermilk. Besides the conversion of lactose to lactate it is responsible for product properties such as flavor and texture, which are determined by volatile metabolites, proteolytic activity and exopolysaccharide production. While the species Lactococcus lactis consists of the two subspecies lactis and cremoris their taxonomic position is confused by a group of strains that, despite of a cremoris genotype, display a lactis phenotype. Here we compared and analyzed the (draft) genomes of 43 L. lactis strains, of which 19 are of dairy and 24 are of non-dairy origin. Machine-learning algorithms facilitated the identification of orthologous groups of protein sequences (OGs) that are predictors for either the taxonomic position or the source of isolation. This allowed the unambiguous categorization of the genotype/phenotype disparity of ssp. lactis and ssp. cremoris strains. A detailed analysis of phenotypic properties including plasmid-encoded genes indicates evolutionary changes during niche adaptations. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that dairy isolates evolved from plant isolates. The analysis further suggests that genomes of cremoris phenotype strains are so eroded that they are restricted to a dairy environment. Overall the genome comparison of a diverse set of strains allowed the identification of niche and subspecies specific genes. This explains evolutionary relationships and will aid the identification and selection of industrial starter cultures.
Project description:Lactococcus lactis is a lactic acid bacterium widely used as a starter culture in the manufacture of dairy products, especially a wide variety of cheeses. Improved industrial strains would help to manufacture better food products that can meet the industry's and consumer's demands with respect to e.g. quality, taste, texture and shelf life. Bacteriophage infection of L. lactis starter cultures represents one of the main causes of fermentation failure and consequent economic losses for the dairy industry. In this study, however, we aim at employing bacteriophages for beneficial purposes. We developed an experimental setup to assess whether phage-mediated horizontal gene transfer could be used to enhance the genetic characteristics of L. lactis strains in accordance with the European law regarding the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the food industry. Although we could not show the transfer of chromosomal DNA we did successfully transduce two dissimilar plasmids from L. lactis strain MG1363 to one of its derivatives employing three different lactococcal bacteriophages.
Project description:Lactococci isolated from non-dairy sources have been found to possess enhanced metabolic activity when compared to dairy strains. These capabilities may be harnessed through the use of these strains as starter or adjunct cultures to produce more diverse flavor profiles in cheese and other dairy products. To understand the interactions between these organisms and the phages that infect them, a number of phages were isolated against lactococcal strains of non-dairy origin. One such phage, ?L47, was isolated from a sewage sample using the grass isolate L. lactis ssp. cremoris DPC6860 as a host. Visualization of phage virions by transmission electron microscopy established that this phage belongs to the family Siphoviridae and possesses a long tail fiber, previously unseen in dairy lactococcal phages. Determination of the lytic spectrum revealed a broader than expected host range, with ?L47 capable of infecting 4 industrial dairy strains, including ML8, HP and 310, and 3 additional non-dairy isolates. Whole genome sequencing of ?L47 revealed a dsDNA genome of 128, 546 bp, making it the largest sequenced lactococcal phage to date. In total, 190 open reading frames (ORFs) were identified, and comparative analysis revealed that the predicted products of 117 of these ORFs shared greater than 50% amino acid identity with those of L. lactis phage ?949, a phage isolated from cheese whey. Despite their different ecological niches, the genomic content and organization of ?L47 and ?949 are quite similar, with both containing 4 gene clusters oriented in different transcriptional directions. Other features that distinguish ?L47 from ?949 and other lactococcal phages, in addition to the presence of the tail fiber and the genome length, include a low GC content (32.5%) and a high number of predicted tRNA genes (8). Comparative genome analysis supports the conclusion that ?L47 is a new member of the 949 lactococcal phage group which currently includes the dairy ?949.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Abortive infection (Abi) mechanisms comprise numerous strategies developed by bacteria to avoid being killed by bacteriophage (phage). Escherichia coli Abis are considered as mediators of programmed cell death, which is induced by infecting phage. Abis were also proposed to be stress response elements, but no environmental activation signals have yet been identified. Abis are widespread in Lactococcus lactis, but regulation of their expression remains an open question. We previously showed that development of AbiD1 abortive infection against phage bIL66 depends on orf1, which is expressed in mid-infection. However, molecular basis for this activation remains unclear. RESULTS: In non-infected AbiD1+ cells, specific abiD1 mRNA is unstable and present in low amounts. It does not increase during abortive infection of sensitive phage. Protein synthesis directed by the abiD1 translation initiation region is also inefficient. The presence of the phage orf1 gene, but not its mutant AbiD1R allele, strongly increases abiD1 translation efficiency. Interestingly, cell growth at low temperature also activates translation of abiD1 mRNA and consequently the AbiD1 phenotype, and occurs independently of phage infection. There is no synergism between the two abiD1 inducers. Purified Orf1 protein binds mRNAs containing a secondary structure motif, identified within the translation initiation regions of abiD1, the mid-infection phage bIL66 M-operon, and the L. lactis osmC gene. CONCLUSION: Expression of the abiD1 gene and consequently AbiD1 phenotype is specifically translationally activated by the phage Orf1 protein. The loss of ability to activate translation of abiD1 mRNA determines the molecular basis for phage resistance to AbiD1. We show for the first time that temperature downshift also activates abortive infection by activation of abiD1 mRNA translation.