Group-specific comparison of four lactobacilli isolated from human sources using differential blast analysis
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Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) have been used in fermentation processes for centuries. More recent applications including the use of LAB as probiotics have significantly increased industrial interest. Here we present a comparative genomic analysis of four completely sequenced Lactobacillus strains, isolated from the human gastrointestinal tract, versus 25 lactic acid bacterial genomes present in the public database at the time of analysis. Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM, Lactobacillus johnsonii NCC533, Lactobacillus gasseri ATCC33323, and Lactobacillus plantarum WCFS1are all considered probiotic and widely used in industrial applications. Using Differential Blast Analysis (DBA), each genome was compared to the respective remaining three other Lactobacillus and 25 other LAB genomes. DBA highlighted strain-specific genes that were not represented in any other LAB used in this analysis and also identified group-specific genes shared within lactobacilli. Initial comparative analyses highlighted a significant number of genes involved in cell adhesion, stress responses, DNA repair and modification, and metabolic capabilities. Furthermore, the range of the recently identified potential autonomous units (PAUs) was broadened significantly, indicating the possibility of distinct families within this genetic element. Based on in silico results obtained for the model organism L. acidophilus NCFM, DBA proved to be a valuable tool to identify new key genetic regions for functional genomics and also suggested re-classification of previously annotated genes.