Genomic diversity of Lactobacillus salivarius

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Raftis, Emma J.
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University College Cork
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Lactobacillus salivarius is unusual among the lactobacilli due to its multireplicon genome architecture. The circular megaplasmids harboured by L. salivarius strains encode strain-specific traits for intestinal survival and probiotic activity. L. salivarius strains are increasingly being exploited for their probiotic properties in humans and animals. In terms of probiotic strain selection, it is important to have an understanding of the level of genomic diversity present in this species. Comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) and multilocus sequence typing (MLST) were employed to assess the level of genomic diversity in L. salivarius. The wellcharacterised probiotic strains L. salivarius UCC118 was employed as a genetic reference strain. The group of test strains were chosen to reflect the range of habitats from which L. salivarius strains are frequently recovered, including human, animal, and environmental sources. Strains of L. salivarius were found to be genetically diverse when compared to the UCC118 genome. The most conserved strains were human GIT isolates, while the greatest level of divergence were identified in animal associated isolates. MLST produced a better separation of the test strains according to their isolation origins, than that produced by CGHbased strain clustering. The exopolysaccharide (EPS) associated genes of L. salivarius strains were found to be highly divergent. The EPS-producing phenotype was found to be carbonsource dependent and inversely related to a strain's ability to produce a biofilm. The genome of the porcine isolate L. salivarius JCM1046 was shown by sequencing to harbour four extrachromosomal replicons, a circular megaplasmid (pMP1046A), a putative chromid (pMP1046B), a linear megaplasmid (pLMP1046) and a smaller circular plasmid (pCTN1046) which contains an integrated Tn916-like element (Tn6224), which carries the tetracycline resistance gene tetM. pLMP1046 represents the first sequence of a linear plasmid in a Lactobacillus species. Dissemination of antibiotic resistance genes among species with food or probiotic-association is undesirable, and the identification of Tn6224-like elements in this species has implications for strain selection for probiotic applications. In summary, this thesis used a comparative genomics approach to examine the level of genotypic diversity in L. salivarius, a species which contains probiotic strains. The genome sequence of strain JCM1046 provides additional insight into the spectrum of extrachromosomal replicons present in this species.
Comparative genomics , Lactobacillus salivarius , Megaplasmid
Raftis, E. J. 2015. Genomic diversity of Lactobacillus salivarius. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.