Short- and long-term adaptation to ethanol stress and its cross-protective consequences in Lactobacillus plantarum

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This paper describes the molecular responses of Lactobacillus plantarum WCFS1 toward ethanol exposure. Global transcriptome profiling using DNA microarrays demonstrated adaptation of the microorganism to the presence of 8% ethanol over short (10-min and 30-min) and long (24-h) time intervals. A total of 57 genes were differentially expressed at all time points. Expression levels of an additional 859 and 873 genes were modulated after 30 min and 24 h of exposure to the solvent, respectively. Ethanol exposure led to induced expression of genes involved in citrate metabolism and cell envelope architecture, as well as canonical stress response pathways controlled by the central stress regulators HrcA and CtsR. Correspondingly, cells grown for 24 h in medium containing 8% ethanol exhibited higher levels of citrate consumption and modified cell membrane fatty acid composition and showed invaginating septa compared with cells grown in liquid medium without ethanol. In addition, these physiological changes resulted in cross-protection against high temperatures but not against several other stresses tested. To evaluate the role of HrcA and CtsR in ethanol tolerance, ctsR and hrcA gene deletion mutants were constructed. The growth rate of the L. plantarum ¿ctsR::cat strain was impaired in de Man-Rogosa-Sharpe (MRS) medium containing 8% ethanol, whereas growth of the L. plantarum ¿hrcA::cat and ¿ctsR ¿hrcA::cat mutants was indistinguishable from that of wild-type cells. Overall, these results suggest that the induction of CtsR class III stress responses provides cross-protection against heat stress.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5247-5256
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • gram-positive bacteria
  • lactic-acid bacteria
  • heat-shock response
  • bacillus-subtilis
  • escherichia-coli
  • molecular characterization
  • citrate metabolism
  • oenococcus-oeni
  • lactococcus-lactis
  • gene-expression


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