Main content area

Uncovering carbohydrate metabolism through a genotype-phenotype association study of 56 lactic acid bacteria genomes

Buron-Moles, Gemma, Chailyan, Anna, Dolejs, Igor, Forster, Jochen, Mikš, Marta Hanna
Applied microbiology and biotechnology 2019 v.103 no.7 pp. 3135-3152
1-phosphofructokinase, Lactobacillus, Leuconostoc, Pediococcus, arabinose, carbohydrate metabolism, data collection, fermentation, food industry, genome-wide association study, genotype-phenotype correlation, high-throughput nucleotide sequencing, industrial applications, lactic acid bacteria, mannose, multigene family, nucleotide sequences, operon, phylogeny
Owing to their unique potential to ferment carbohydrates, both homo- and heterofermentative lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are widely used in the food industry. Deciphering the genetic basis that determine the LAB fermentation type, and hence carbohydrate utilization, is paramount to optimize LAB industrial processes. Deep sequencing of 24 LAB species and comparison with 32 publicly available genome sequences provided a comparative data set including five major LAB genera for further analysis. Phylogenomic reconstruction confirmed Leuconostoc and Pediococcus species as independently emerging from the Lactobacillus genus, within one of the three phylogenetic clades identified. These clades partially grouped LABs according to their fermentation types, suggesting that some metabolic capabilities were independently acquired during LAB evolution. In order to apply a genome-wide association study (GWAS) at the multigene family level, utilization of 49 carbohydrates was also profiled for these 56 LAB species. GWAS results indicated that obligately heterofermentative species lack 1-phosphofructokinase, required for D-mannose degradation in the homofermentative pathway. Heterofermentative species were found to often contain the araBAD operon, involved in L-arabinose degradation, which is important for heterofermentation. Taken together, our results provide helpful insights into the genetic determinants of LAB carbohydrate metabolism, and opens for further experimental research, aiming at validating the role of these candidate genes for industrial applications.