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Genetic and phenotypic analysis of carbohydrate metabolism and transport in Lactobacillus reuteri

Zhao, Xin, Gänzle, Michael G.
International journal of food microbiology 2018 v.272 pp. 12-21
Lactobacillus reuteri, carbohydrate metabolism, carbon, energy, fermentation, genome, genomics, genotype, glucose transporters, intestines, lactose, licheninase, malt, maltose, pentoses, phenotype, phylogeny, raffinose, rodents, sourdough, sucrose
Lactobacilli derive metabolic energy mainly from carbohydrate fermentation. Homofermentative and heterofermentative lactobacilli exhibit characteristic differences in carbohydrate transport and regulation of metabolism, however, enzymes for carbohydrate transport in heterofermentative lactobacilli are poorly characterized. This study aimed to identify carbohydrate active enzymes in the L. reuteri strains LTH2584, LTH5448, TMW1.656, TMW1.112, 100-23, mlc3, and lpuph by phenotypic analysis and comparative genomics. Sourdough and intestinal isolates of L. reuteri displayed no difference in the number and type of carbohydrate-active enzymes encoded in the genome. Predicted sugar transporters encoded by genomes of L. reuteri strains were secondary carriers and most belong to the major facilitator superfamily. The quantification of gene expression during growth in sourdough and in chemically defined media corresponded to the predicted function of the transporters MalT, ScrT and LacS as carriers for maltose, sucrose, and lactose or raffinose, respectively. The genotype for sugar utilization matched the fermentation profile of 39 sugars for L. reuteri strains, and indicated preference for maltose, sucrose, raffinose and (iso)-malto-oligosaccharides, which are available in sourdough and in the upper intestine of rodents. Pentose utilization in L. reuteri species was strain-specific but independent of the origin or phylogenetic position of isolates. Two glycosyl hydrolases, licheninase (EC and endo-1, 4-β-galactosidase (EC were identified based on conserved domains. In conclusion, the study identified the lack of PTS systems, preference for secondary carriers for carbohydrate transport, and absence of carbon catabolite repression as characteristic features of the carbohydrate metabolism in the heterofermentative L. reuteri.