A plasmid-encoded putative glycosyltransferase is involved in hop tolerance and beer spoilage in Lactobacillus brevis

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Feyereisen, Marine
Mahony, Jennifer
O'Sullivan, Tadhg
Boer, Viktor
van Sinderen, Douwe
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American Society for Microbiology
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Lactobacillus brevis beer-spoiling strains harbor plasmids that contain genes such as horA, horC, and hitA which are known to confer hop tolerance. The L. brevis beer-spoiling strain UCCLBBS124, which possesses four plasmids, was treated with novobiocin, resulting in the isolation of UCCLBBS124 derivatives exhibiting hop sensitivity and an inability to grow in beer. One selected derivative was shown to have lost a single plasmid, here designated UCCLBBS124_D, which harbors the UCCLBBS124_pD0015 gene, predicted to encode a glycosyltransferase. Hop tolerance and growth in beer were restored when UCCLBBS124_pD0015 was introduced in one of these hop-sensitive derivatives on a plasmid. We hypothesize that this gene modifies the surface composition of the polysaccharide cell wall, conferring protection against hop compounds. Furthermore, the introduction of this gene in trans in L. brevis UCCLB521, a strain that cannot grow in and spoil beer, was shown to furnish the resulting strain with the ability to grow in beer, while its expression also conferred phage resistance. This study underscores how the acquisition of certain mobile genetic elements plays a role in hop tolerance and beer spoilage for strains of this bacterial species.IMPORTANCELactobacillus brevis is a member of the lactic acid bacteria and is often reported as the causative agent of food or beverage spoilage, in particular, that of beer. Bacterial spoilage of beer may result in product withdrawal or recall, with concomitant economic losses for the brewing industry. A very limited number of genes involved in beer spoilage have been identified and primarily include those involved in hop resistance, such as horA, hitA, and horC However, since none of these genes are universal, it is clear that there are likely (many) other molecular players involved in beer spoilage. Here, we report on the importance of a plasmid-encoded glycosyltransferase associated with beer spoilage by L. brevis that is involved in hop tolerance. The study highlights the complexity of the genetic requirements to facilitate beer spoilage and the role of multiple key players in this process.
Lactic acid bacteria , Plasmid resistance , HorA , Cell wall , Polysaccharide , Phage , Beer spoilage , Lactobacillus brevis , Microbiology
Feyereisen, M., Mahony, J., O'Sullivan, T. and van Sinderen, D. (2020) 'A Plasmid-Encoded Putative Glycosyltransferase Is Involved in Hop Tolerance and Beer Spoilage in Lactobacillus brevis', Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 86(3), e02268-19, (10 pp). doi: 10.1128/AEM.02268-19
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