Background: Important industrial traits have been linked to plasmids in Lactococcus lactis. Results: The dairy isolate L. lactis subsp. lactis biovar diacetylactis FM03P was sequenced revealing the biggest plasmidome of all completely sequenced and published L. lactis strains up till now. The 12 plasmids that were identified are: pLd1 (8277bp), pLd2 (15,218bp), pLd3 (4242bp), pLd4 (12,005bp), pLd5 (7521bp), pLd6 (3363bp), pLd7 (30,274bp), pLd8 (47,015bp), pLd9 (15,313bp), pLd10 (39,563bp), pLd11 (9833bp) and pLd12 (3321bp). Structural analysis of the repB promoters and the RepB proteins showed that eleven of the plasmids replicate via the theta-type mechanism, while only plasmid pLd3 replicates via a rolling-circle replication mechanism. Plasmids pLd2, pLd7 and pLd10 contain a highly similar operon involved in mobilisation of the plasmids. Examination of the twelve plasmids of L. lactis FM03P showed that 10 of the plasmids carry putative genes known to be important for growth and survival in the dairy environment. These genes encode technological functions such as lactose utilisation (lacR-lacABCDFEGX), citrate uptake (citQRP), peptide degradation (pepO and pepE) and oligopeptide uptake (oppDFBCA), uptake of magnesium and manganese (2 mntH, corA), exopolysaccharides production (eps operon), bacteriophage resistance (1 hsdM, 1 hsdR and 7 different hsdS genes of a type I restriction-modification system, an operon of three genes encoding a putative type II restriction-modification system and an abortive infection gene) and stress resistance (2 uspA, cspC and cadCA). Acquisition of these plasmids most likely facilitated the adaptation of the recipient strain to the dairy environment. Some plasmids were already lost during a single propagation step signifying their instability in the absence of a selective pressure. Conclusions:Lactococcus lactis FM03P carries 12 plasmids important for its adaptation to the dairy environment. Some of the plasmids were easily lost demonstrating that propagation outside the dairy environment should be minimised when studying dairy isolates of L. lactis.
- Lactic acid bacteria
- Protoplast-induced curing