Unique niche-specific adaptation of fructophilic lactic acid bacteria and proposal of three Apilactobacillus species as novel members of the group

Maeno, Shintaro ; Nishimura, Hiroya ; Tanizawa, Yasuhiro ; Dicks, Leon ; Arita, Masanori ; Endo, Akihito (2021-02-09)

CITATION: Maeno, S., et al. 2021. Unique niche-specific adaptation of fructophilic lactic acid bacteria and proposal of three Apilactobacillus species as novel members of the group. BMC Microbiology, 21:41, doi:10.1186/s12866-021-02101-9.

The original publication is available at https://bmcmicrobiol.biomedcentral.com

Article

Background: Fructophilic lactic acid bacteria (FLAB) found in D-fructose rich niches prefer D-fructose over Dglucose as a growth substrate. They need electron acceptors for growth on D-glucose. The organisms share carbohydrate metabolic properties. Fructobacillus spp., Apilactobacillus kunkeei, and Apilactobacillus apinorum are members of this unique group. Here we studied the fructophilic characteristics of recently described species Apilactobacillus micheneri, Apilactobacillus quenuiae, and Apilactobacillus timberlakei. Results: The three species prefer D-fructose over D-glucose and only metabolize D-glucose in the presence of electron acceptors. The genomic characteristics of the three species, i.e. small genomes and thus a low number of coding DNA sequences, few genes involved in carbohydrate transport and metabolism, and partial deletion of adhE gene, are characteristic of FLAB. The three species thus are novel members of FLAB. Reduction of genes involved in carbohydrate transport and metabolism in accordance with reduction of genome size were the common characteristics of the family Lactobacillaceae, but FLAB markedly reduced the gene numbers more than other species in the family. Pan-genome analysis of genes involved in metabolism displayed a lack of specific carbohydrate metabolic pathways in FLAB, leading to a unique cluster separation. Conclusions: The present study expanded FLAB group. Fructose-rich environments have induced similar evolution in phylogenetically distant FLAB species. These are examples of convergent evolution of LAB.

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