Interactions of nisin and pediocin PA-1 with closely related lactic acid bacteria that manifest over 100-fold differences in bacteriocin sensitivity

M.H.J. Bennik, A. Verheul, T. Abee, G. Naaktgeboren-Stoffels, L.G.M. Gorris, E.J. Smid

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    The natural variation in the susceptibilities of gram-positive bacteria towards the bacteriocins nisin and pediocin PA-1 is considerable. This study addresses the factors associated with this variability for closely related lactic acid bacteria. We compared two sets of nonbacteriocinogenic strains for which the MICs of nisin and pediocin PA-1 differed 100- to 1,000-fold: Lactobacillus sake DSM20017 and L. sake DSM20497 and Pediococcus dextrinicus and Pediococcus pentosaccus. Strikingly, the bacteriocin-sensitive and -insensitive strains showed a similar concentration-dependent dissipation of their membrane potential (delta psi) after exposure to these bacteriocins. The bacteriocin-induced dissipation of delta psi below the MICs for the insensitive strains did not coincide with a reduction of intracellular ATP pools and glycolytic rates. This was not observed with the sensitive strains. Analysis of membrane lipid properties revealed minor differences in the phospho- and glycolipid compositions of both sets of strains. The interactions of the bacteriocins with strain-specific lipids were not significantly different in a lipid monolayer assay. Further lipid analysis revealed higher in situ membrane fluidity of the bacteriocin-sensitive Pediococcus strain compared with that for the insensitive strain, but the opposite was found for the L. sake strains. Our results provide evidence that the association of bacteriocins with the cell membrane and their subsequent insertion take place in a similar way for cells that have a high or a low natural tolerance towards bacteriocins. For insensitive strains, overall membrane constitution rather than mere membrane fluidity may preclude the formation of pores with sufficient diameters and lifetimes to ultimately cause cell death.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3628-3636
    JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - 1997


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