Nomadic lifestyle of Lactobacillus plantarum revealed by comparative genomics of 54 strains isolated from different habitats

Maria Elena Martino*, Jumamurat R. Bayjanov, Brian E. Caffrey, Michiel Wels, Pauline Joncour, Sandrine Hughes, Benjamin Gillet, Michiel Kleerebezem, Sacha A.F.T. van Hijum, François Leulier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

80 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The ability of bacteria to adapt to diverse environmental conditions is well-known. The process of bacterial adaptation to a niche has been linked to large changes in the genome content, showing that many bacterial genomes reflect the constraints imposed by their habitat. However, some highly versatile bacteria are found in diverse habitats that almost share nothing in common. Lactobacillus plantarum is a lactic acid bacterium that is found in a large variety of habitat. With the aim of unravelling the link between evolution and ecological versatility of L. plantarum, we analysed the genomes of 54 L. plantarum strains isolated from different environments. Comparative genome analysis identified a high level of genomic diversity and plasticity among the strains analysed. Phylogenomic and functional divergence studies coupled with gene–trait matching analyses revealed a mixed distribution of the strains, which was uncoupled from their environmental origin. Our findings revealed the absence of specific genomic signatures marking adaptations of L. plantarum towards the diverse habitats it is associated with. This suggests fundamentally similar trends of genome evolution in L. plantarum, which occur in a manner that is apparently uncoupled from ecological constraint and reflects the nomadic lifestyle of this species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4974-4989
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology
Volume18
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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