A combined physiological and proteomic approach to reveal lactic-acid-induced alterations in Lactobacillus casei Zhang and its mutant with enhanced lactic acid tolerance
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- Wu, C., Zhang, J., Chen, W. et al. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol (2012) 93: 707. doi:10.1007/s00253-011-3757-6
Lactobacillus casei has traditionally been recognized as a probiotic and frequently used as an adjunct culture in fermented dairy products, where acid stress is an environmental condition commonly encountered. In the present study, we carried out a comparative physiological and proteomic study to investigate lactic-acid-induced alterations in Lactobacillus casei Zhang (WT) and its acid-resistant mutant. Analysis of the physiological data showed that the mutant exhibited 33.8% higher glucose phosphoenolpyruvate:sugar phosphotransferase system activity and lower glycolytic pH compared with the WT under acidic conditions. In addition, significant differences were detected in both cells during acid stress between intracellular physiological state, including intracellular pH, H+-ATPase activity, and intracellular ATP pool. Comparison of the proteomic data based on 2D-DIGE and i-TRAQ indicated that acid stress invoked a global change in both strains. The mutant protected the cells against acid damage by regulating the expression of key proteins involved in cellular metabolism, DNA replication, RNA synthesis, translation, and some chaperones. Proteome results were validated by Lactobacillus casei displaying higher intracellular aspartate and arginine levels, and the survival at pH 3.3 was improved 1.36- and 2.10-fold by the addition of 50-mM aspartate and arginine, respectively. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration that aspartate may be involved in acid tolerance in Lactobacillus casei. Results presented here may help us understand acid resistance mechanisms and help formulate new strategies to enhance the industrial applications of this species.