Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

, Volume 70, Issue 2, pp 161–183

Genomic organization of lactic acid bacteria

  • Barrie E. Davidson
  • Nancy Kordias
  • Marian Dobos
  • Alan J. Hillier
Genetics

DOI: 10.1007/BF00395932

Cite this article as:
Davidson, B.E., Kordias, N., Dobos, M. et al. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek (1996) 70: 161. doi:10.1007/BF00395932

Abstract

Current knowledge of the genomes of the lactic acid bacteria, Lactococcus lactis and Streptococcus thermophilus, and members of the genera Lactobacillus, Leuconostoc, Pediococcus and Carnobacterium is reviewed. The genomes contain a chromosome within the size range of 1.8 to 3.4 Mbp. Plasmids are common in Lactococcus lactis (most strains carry 4–7 different plasmids), some of the lactobacilli and pediococci, but they are not frequently present in S. thermophilus, Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus or the intestinal lactobacilli. Five IS elements have been found in L. lactis and most strains carry multiple copies of at least two of them; some strains also carry a 68-kbp conjugative transposon. IS elements have been found in the genera Lactobacillus and Leuconostoc, but not in S. thermophilus. Prophages are also a normal component of the L. lactis genome and lysogeny is common in the lactobacilli, however it appears to be rare in S. thermophilus. Physical and genetic maps for two L. lactis subsp. lactis strains, two L. lactis subsp. cremoris strains and S. thermophilus A054 have been constructed and each reveals the presence of six rrn operons clustered in less than 40% of the chromosome. The L. lactis subsp. cremoris MG1363 map contains 115 genetic loci and the S. thermophilus map has 35. The maps indicate significant plasticity in the L. lactis subsp. cremoris chromosome in the form of a number of inversions and translocations. The cause(s) of these rearrangements is (are) not known. A number of potentially powerful genetic tools designed to analyse the L. lactis genome have been constructed in recent years. These tools enable gene inactivation, gene replacement and gene recovery experiments to be readily carried out with this organism, and potentially with other lactic acid bacteria and Gram-positive bacteria. Integration vectors based on temperate phage attB sites and the random insertion of IS elements have also been developed for L. lactis and the intestinal lactobacilli. In addition, a L. lactis sex factor that mobilizes the chromosome in a manner reminiscent to that seen with Escherichia coli Hfr strains has been discovered and characterized. With the availability of this new technology, research into the genome of the lactic acid bacteria is poised to undertake a period of extremely rapid information accrual.

Key words

LactococcusStreptococcus thermophilusLactobacillusLeuconostocOenococcusPediococcusCarnobacteriumgenomechromosomeplasmidtemperate phagegenetic mapIS elementsgenome plasticity

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barrie E. Davidson
    • 1
  • Nancy Kordias
    • 1
    • 3
  • Marian Dobos
    • 2
  • Alan J. Hillier
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry and Molecular BiologyThe University of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Medical Laboratory ScienceRoyal Melbourne Institute of TechnologyMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.Division of Food Science and Technology, Melbourne LaboratoryCommonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research OrganizationHighettAustralia