A Specific Sugar Moiety in the Lactococcus lactis Cell Wall Pellicle Is Required for Infection by CHPC971, a Member of the Rare 1706 Phage Species.
ABSTRACT: Lactococcus lactis is a Gram-positive bacterium widely used as a starter culture for the production of different dairy products, especially a large variety of cheeses. Infection of lactococcal starter cultures by bacteriophages is one of the major causes of fermentation failure and often leads to production halt. Lactococcal bacteriophages belonging to the c2, 936, and P335 species are the most commonly isolated in dairy plants and have been extensively investigated in the past three decades. Information regarding bacteriophages belonging to less commonly isolated species is, on the other hand, less extensive, although these phages can also contribute to starter culture infection. Here, we report the nucleotide sequence of the newly isolated L. lactis phage CHPC971, belonging to the rare 1706 species of lactococcal phages. We investigated the nature of the host receptor recognized by the phage and collected evidence that strongly suggests that it binds to a specific sugar moiety in the cell wall pellicle of its host. An in silico analysis of the genome of phage CHPC971 identified the hypothetical genes involved in receptor binding.IMPORTANCE Gathering information on how lactococcal bacteriophages recognize their host and proliferate in the dairy environment is of vital importance for the establishment of proper starter culture rotation plans and to avoid fermentation failure and consequent great economic losses for dairy industries. We provide strong evidence on the type of receptor recognized by a newly isolated 1706-type lactococcal bacteriophage, increasing knowledge of phage-host interactions relevant to dairying. This information can help to prevent phage infection events that, so far, are hard to predict and avoid.
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: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: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:Lactococcus lactis is one of the most important bacteria in dairy fermentations, being used in the production of cheese and buttermilk. The processes are vulnerable to phage attacks, and undefined mixtures of lactococcal strains are often used to reduce the risk of bacteriophage caused fermentation failure. Other preventive measures include culture rotation to prevent phage build-up and phage monitoring. Phage diversity, rather than quantity, is the largest threat to fermentations using undefined mixed starter cultures. We have developed a method for culture independent diversity analysis of lytic bacteriophages of the 936 group, the phages most commonly found in dairies. Using, as a target, a highly variable region of the portal protein gene, we demonstrate an unprecedented diversity and the presence of new 936 phages in samples taken from cheese production. The method should be useful to the dairy industry and starter culture manufacturers in their efforts to reduce phage problems.
Project description:Dairy fermentations constitute a perfect "breeding ground" for bacteriophages infecting starter cultures, particularly strains of Lactococcus lactis. In modern fermentations, these phages typically belong to one of three groups, i.e., the 936, P335, and c2 phage groups. Traditional production methods present fewer chemical and physical barriers to phage proliferation compared to modern production systems, while the starter cultures used are typically complex, variable, and undefined. In the current study, a variety of cheese whey, animal-derived rennet, and vat swab samples from artisanal cheeses produced in Sicily were analysed for the presence of lactococcal phages to assess phage diversity in such environments. The complete genomes of 18 representative phage isolates were sequenced, allowing the identification of 10 lactococcal 949 group phages, six P087 group phages, and two members of the 936 group phages. The genetic diversity of these isolates was examined using phylogenetic analysis as well as a focused analysis of the receptor binding proteins, which dictate specific interactions with the host-encoded receptor. Thermal treatments at 63 °C and 83 °C indicate that the 949 phages are particularly sensitive to thermal treatments, followed by the P087 and 936 isolates, which were shown to be much less sensitive to such treatments. This difference may explain the relatively low frequency of isolation of the so-called "rare" 949 and P087 group phages in modern fermentations.
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: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: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: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:The 936-type lytic bacteriophages are the most frequently encountered species infecting lactococcal dairy starters. Infection by members belonging to this species has a significant negative impact on the cheese production process. Here we report the complete genome sequence of the bacteriophage CaseusJM1, a 936-type phage isolated from an Irish dairy plant.