Polymorphisms, Chromosomal Rearrangements, and Mutator Phenotype Development during Experimental Evolution of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG.
ABSTRACT: Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG is a lactic acid bacterium widely marketed by the food industry. Its genomic analysis led to the identification of a gene cluster encoding mucus-binding SpaCBA pili, which is located in a genomic island enriched in insertion sequence (IS) elements. In the present study, we analyzed by genome-wide resequencing the genomic integrity of L. rhamnosus GG in four distinct evolutionary experiments conducted for approximately 1,000 generations under conditions of no stress or salt, bile, and repetitive-shearing stress. Under both stress-free and salt-induced stress conditions, the GG population (excluding the mutator lineage in the stress-free series [see below]) accumulated only a few single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and no frequent chromosomal rearrangements. In contrast, in the presence of bile salts or repetitive shearing stress, some IS elements were found to be activated, resulting in the deletion of large chromosomal segments that include the spaCBA-srtC1 pilus gene cluster. Remarkably, a high number of SNPs were found in three strains obtained after 900 generations of stress-free growth. Detailed analysis showed that these three strains derived from a founder mutant with an altered DNA polymerase subunit that resulted in a mutator phenotype. The present work confirms the stability of the pilus production phenotype in L. rhamnosus GG under stress-free conditions, highlights the possible evolutionary scenarios that may occur when this probiotic strain is extensively cultured, and identifies external factors that affect the chromosomal integrity of GG. The results provide mechanistic insights into the stability of GG in regard to its extensive use in probiotic and other functional food products.Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG is a widely marketed probiotic strain that has been used in numerous clinical studies to assess its health-promoting properties. Hence, the stability of the probiotic functions of L. rhamnosus GG is of importance, and here we studied the impact of external stresses on the genomic integrity of L. rhamnosus GG. We studied three different stresses that are relevant for understanding its robustness and integrity under both ex vivo conditions, i.e., industrial manufacturing conditions, and in vivo conditions, i.e., intestinal tract-associated stress. Overall, our findings contribute to predicting the genomic stability of L. rhamnosus GG and its ecological performance.
Project description:Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG is one of the most widely marketed and studied probiotic strains. In L. rhamnosus GG, the spaCBA-srtC1 gene cluster encodes pili, which are important for some of the probiotic properties of the strain. A previous study showed that the DNA sequence of the spaCBA-srtC1 gene cluster was not present in some L. rhamnosus GG variants isolated from liquid dairy products. To examine the stability of the L. rhamnosus GG genome in an industrial production process, we sequenced the genome of samples of L. rhamnosus GG (DSM 33156) collected at specific steps of the industrial production process, including the culture collection stock, intermediate fermentations, and final freeze-dried products. We found that the L. rhamnosus GG genome sequence was unchanged throughout the production process. Consequently, the spaCBA-srtC1 gene locus was intact and fully conserved in all 31 samples examined. In addition, different production batches of L. rhamnosus GG exhibited consistent phenotypes, including the presence of pili in final freeze-dried products, and consistent characteristics in in vitro assays of probiotic properties. Our data show that L. rhamnosus GG is highly stable in this industrial production process.IMPORTANCE Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG is one of the best-studied probiotic strains. One of the well-characterized features of the strain is the pili encoded by the spaCBA-srtC1 gene cluster. These pili are involved in persistence in the gastrointestinal tract and are important for the probiotic properties of L. rhamnosus GG. Previous studies demonstrated that the L. rhamnosus GG genome can be unstable under certain conditions and can lose the spaCBA-srtC1 gene cluster. Since in vitro studies have shown that the loss of the spaCBA-srtC1 gene cluster decreases certain L. rhamnosus GG probiotic properties, we assessed both the genomic stability and phenotypic properties of L. rhamnosus GG throughout an industrial production process. We found that neither genomic nor phenotypic changes occurred in the samples. Therefore, we demonstrate that L. rhamnosus GG retains the spaCBA-srtC1 cluster and exhibits excellent genomic and phenotypic stability in the specific industrial process examined here.
Project description:Four Lactobacillus strains were isolated from marketed probiotic products, including L. rhamnosus strains from Vifit (Friesland Campina) and Idoform (Ferrosan) and L. casei strains from Actimel (Danone) and Yakult (Yakult Honsa Co.). Their genomes and phenotypes were characterized and compared in detail with L. casei strain BL23 and L. rhamnosus strain GG. Phenotypic analysis of the new isolates indicated differences in carbohydrate utilization between L. casei and L. rhamnosus strains, which could be linked to their genotypes. The two isolated L. rhamnosus strains had genomes that were virtually identical to that of L. rhamnosus GG, testifying to their genomic stability and integrity in food products. The L. casei strains showed much greater genomic heterogeneity. Remarkably, all strains contained an intact spaCBA pilus gene cluster. However, only the L. rhamnosus strains produced mucus-binding SpaCBA pili under the conditions tested. Transcription initiation mapping demonstrated that the insertion of an iso-IS30 element upstream of the pilus gene cluster in L. rhamnosus strains but absent in L. casei strains had constituted a functional promoter driving pilus gene expression. All L. rhamnosus strains triggered an NF-?B response via Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) in a reporter cell line, whereas the L. casei strains did not or did so to a much lesser extent. This study demonstrates that the two L. rhamnosus strains isolated from probiotic products are virtually identical to L. rhamnosus GG and further highlights the differences between these and L. casei strains widely marketed as probiotics, in terms of genome content, mucus-binding and metabolic capacities, and host signaling capabilities.
Project description:We describe here a comparative genome analysis of three dairy product isolates of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) and the ATCC 53103 reference strain to the published genome sequence of L. rhamnosus GG. The analysis showed that in two of three isolates, major DNA segments were missing from the genomic islands LGGISL1,2. The deleted DNA segments consist of 34 genes in one isolate and 84 genes in the other and are flanked by identical insertion elements. Among the missing genes are the spaCBA genes, which encode pilin subunits involved in adhesion to mucus and persistence of the strains in the human intestinal tract. Subsequent quantitative PCR analyses of six commercial probiotic products confirmed that two more products contain a heterogeneous population of L. rhamnosus GG variants, including genotypes with or without spaC. These results underline the relevance for quality assurance and control measures targeting genome stability in probiotic strains and justify research assessing the effect of genetic rearrangements in probiotics on the outcome of in vitro and in vivo efficacy studies.
Project description:Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, a probiotic with good survival capacity in the human gut, has well-documented adhesion properties and health effects. Recently, spaCBA-encoded pili that bind to human intestinal mucus were identified on its cell surface. Here, we report on the phenotypic analysis of a spaCBA pilus knockout mutant in comparison with the wild type and other adhesin mutants. The SpaCBA pilus of L. rhamnosus GG showed to be key for efficient adherence to the Caco-2 intestinal epithelial cell (IEC) line and biofilm formation. Moreover, the spaCBA mutant induces an elevated level of interleukin-8 (IL-8) mRNA in Caco-2 cells compared to the wild type, possibly involving an interaction of lipoteichoic acid with Toll-like receptor 2. In contrast, an L. rhamnosus GG mutant without exopolysaccharides but with an increased exposure of pili leads to the reduced expression of IL-8. Using Transwells to partition bacteria from Caco-2 cells, IL-8 induction is blocked completely regardless of whether wild-type or mutant L. rhamnosus GG cells are used. Taken together, our data suggest that L. rhamnosus GG SpaCBA pili, while promoting strong adhesive interactions with IECs, have a functional role in balancing IL-8 mRNA expression induced by surface molecules such as lipoteichoic acid.
Project description:The human oral microbiome has a major role in oral diseases including dental caries. Our studies on progression of caries infection through dentin and more recently, the invasion of vital dental pulp, detected Lactobacillus rhamnosus in the initial stages of infection of vital pulp tissue. In this study employing current high-throughput next generation sequencing technology we sought to obtain insight into genomic traits of tissue invasive L. rhamnosus, to recognise biomarkers that could provide an understanding of pathogenic potential of lactobacilli, generally regarded as safe. Roche GS FLX+ technology was used to generate whole genome sequences of two clinical isolates of L. rhamnosus infecting vital pulp. Detailed genome-wide comparison of the genetic profiles of tissue invasive L. rhamnosus with probiotic L. rhamnosus was performed to test the hypothesis that specific strains of L. rhamnosus possessing a unique gene complement are selected for the capacity to invade vital pulp tissue. Analysis identified 264 and 258 genes respectively, from dental pulp-invasive L. rhamnosus strains LRHMDP2 and LRHMDP3 isolated from two different subjects that were not present in the reference probiotic L. rhamnosus strain ATCC 53103 (GG). Distinct genome signatures identified included the presence of a modified exopolysaccharide cluster, a characteristic confirmed in a further six clinical isolates. Additional features of LRHMDP2 and LRHMDP3 were altered transcriptional regulators from RpoN, NtrC, MutR, ArsR and zinc-binding Cro/CI families, as well as changes in the two-component sensor kinase response regulator and ABC transporters for ferric iron. Both clinical isolates of L. rhamnosus contained a single SpaFED cluster, as in L. rhamnosus Lc705, instead of the two Spa clusters (SpaCBA and SpaFED) identified in L. rhamnosus ATCC 53103 (GG). Genomic distance analysis and SNP divergence confirmed a close relationship of the clinical isolates but segregation from the reference probiotic L. rhamnosus strain ATCC 53103 (GG).
Project description:Lacticaseibacillus rhamnosus GG is one of the best studied lactic acid bacteria in the context of probiotic effects. L. rhamnosus GG has been shown to prevent diarrhea in children and adults and has been implicated to have mitigating or preventive effects in several disorders connected to microbiota dysbiosis. The probiotic effects are largely attributed to its adhesive heterotrimeric sortase-dependent pili, encoded by the spaCBA-srtC1 gene cluster. Indeed, the strain-specific SpaCBA pili have been shown to contribute to adherence, biofilm formation and host signaling. In this work we set out to generate non-GMO derivatives of L. rhamnosus GG that adhere stronger to mucus compared to the wild-type strain using chemical mutagenesis. We selected 13 derivatives that showed an increased mucus-adherent phenotype. Deep shotgun resequencing of the strains enabled division of the strains into three classes, two of which revealed SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) in the spaA and spaC genes encoding the shaft and tip adhesive pilins, respectively. Strikingly, the other class derivatives demonstrated less clear genotype - phenotype relationships, illustrating that pili biogenesis and structure is also affected by other processes. Further characterization of the different classes of derivatives was performed by PacBio SMRT sequencing and RNAseq analysis, which resulted in the identification of molecular candidates driving pilin biosynthesis and functionality. In conclusion, we report on the generation and characterization of three classes of strongly adherent L. rhamnosus GG derivatives that show an increase in adhesion to mucus. These are of special interest as they provide a window on processes and genes driving piliation and its control in L. rhamnosus GG and offer a variety of non-GMO derivatives of this key probiotic strain that are applicable in food products.
Project description:Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG is one of the best-characterized lactic acid bacteria and can be considered a probiotic paradigm. Comparative and functional genome analysis showed that L. rhamnosus GG harbors a genomic island including the spaCBA-srtC1 gene cluster, encoding the cell surface-decorating host-interacting pili. Here, induced mutagenesis was used to study pilus biogenesis in L. rhamnosus GG. A combination of two powerful approaches, mutation selection and next-generation sequencing, was applied to L. rhamnosus GG for the selection of pilus-deficient mutants from an enriched population. The isolated mutants were first screened by immuno-dot blot analysis using antiserum against pilin proteins. Relevant mutants were selected, and the lack of pili was confirmed by immunoelectron microscopy. The pilosotype of 10 mutant strains was further characterized by analyzing pilin expression using Western blot, dot blot, and immunofluorescence methods. A mucus binding assay showed that the mutants did not adhere to porcine intestinal mucus. Comparative genome sequence analysis using the Illumina MiSeq platform allowed us to determine the nature of the mutations in the obtained pilus-deficient derivatives. Three major classes of mutants with unique genotypes were observed: class I, with mutations in the srtC1 gene; class II, with a deletion containing the spaCBA-srtC1 gene cluster; and class III, with mutations in the spaA gene. Only a limited number of collateral mutations were observed, and one of the pilus-deficient derivatives with a deficient srtC1 gene contained 24 other mutations. This strain, PB12, can be considered a candidate for human trials addressing the impact of the absence of pili.
Project description:To unravel the biological function of the widely used probiotic bacterium Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, we compared its 3.0-Mbp genome sequence with the similarly sized genome of L. rhamnosus LC705, an adjunct starter culture exhibiting reduced binding to mucus. Both genomes demonstrated high sequence identity and synteny. However, for both strains, genomic islands, 5 in GG and 4 in LC705, punctuated the colinearity. A significant number of strain-specific genes were predicted in these islands (80 in GG and 72 in LC705). The GG-specific islands included genes coding for bacteriophage components, sugar metabolism and transport, and exopolysaccharide biosynthesis. One island only found in L. rhamnosus GG contained genes for 3 secreted LPXTG-like pilins (spaCBA) and a pilin-dedicated sortase. Using anti-SpaC antibodies, the physical presence of cell wall-bound pili was confirmed by immunoblotting. Immunogold electron microscopy showed that the SpaC pilin is located at the pilus tip but also sporadically throughout the structure. Moreover, the adherence of strain GG to human intestinal mucus was blocked by SpaC antiserum and abolished in a mutant carrying an inactivated spaC gene. Similarly, binding to mucus was demonstrated for the purified SpaC protein. We conclude that the presence of SpaC is essential for the mucus interaction of L. rhamnosus GG and likely explains its ability to persist in the human intestinal tract longer than LC705 during an intervention trial. The presence of mucus-binding pili on the surface of a nonpathogenic Gram-positive bacterial strain reveals a previously undescribed mechanism for the interaction of selected probiotic lactobacilli with host tissues.
Project description:Here, we report the extensive bioinformatic and functional analyses of the unusual pLOCK 0919, a plasmid originating from the probiotic Lactobacillus casei LOCK 0919 strain. This plasmid is atypical because it harbors the spaCBA-srtC gene cluster encoding SpaCBA pili. We show that all other spaCBA-srtC sequences of the Lactobacillus genus that have been previously described and deposited in GenBank are present in the chromosomal DNA. Another important observation for pLOCK 0919 is that the spaCBA-srtC gene cluster and its surrounding genes are highly similar to the respective DNA region that is present in the most well-known and active SpaCBA pili producer, the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG strain. Our results demonstrate that the spaCBA-srtC clusters of pLOCK 0919 and L. rhamnosus GG are genealogically similar, located in DNA regions that are rich in transposase genes and are poorly conserved among the publicly available sequences of Lactobacillus sp. In contrast to chromosomally localized pilus gene clusters from L. casei and Lactobacillus paracasei, the plasmidic spaC of L. casei LOCK 0919 is expressed and undergoes a slight glucose-induced repression. Moreover, results of series of in vitro tests demonstrate that L. casei LOCK 0919 has an adhesion potential, which is largely determined by the presence of the pLOCK 0919 plasmid. In particular, the plasmid occurrence positively influenced the hydrophobicity and aggregation abilities of L. casei LOCK 0919. Moreover, in vivo studies indicate that among the three Lactobacillus strains used to colonize the gastrointestinal tract of germ-free mice, already after 2 days of colonization, L. casei LOCK 0919 became the dominant strain and persisted there for at least 48 days.
Project description:Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, a widely used Gram-positive probiotic strain, is clinically well known for its perceived health-promoting effects. It has recently been shown to display proteinaceous pilus fibres (called SpaCBA) on its cell surface. Structurally, SpaCBA pili possess a characteristic three-pilin polymerized architecture, with repeating SpaA major pilins that form the backbone and two types of minor subunits (SpaB and SpaC). In this study, recombinant SpaA protein was purified, characterized and crystallized. The crystals diffracted to a resolution of 2.0?Å and belonged to space group C2, with unit-cell parameters a=227.9, b=63.2, c=104.3?Å, ?=95.1°.