Spatial and temporal expression of Lactobacillus plantarum genes in the gastrointestinal tracts of mice

M. Marco, R.S. Bongers, W.M. de Vos, M. Kleerebezem

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Lactobacillus plantarum is a common inhabitant of mammalian gastrointestinal tracts, and L. plantarum strain WCFS1 is a human isolate with a known genome sequence. L. plantarum WCFS1 survives intestinal passage in an active form, and its transit time and transcriptional activities were monitored in 15 BALB/c mice at 2, 4, 6, 8, and 24 h after being fed a single intragastric dose of this organism. Enumeration of viable cells isolated from fecal material revealed that the majority of the L. plantarum inoculum transited the mouse intestine within 4 h after ingestion. Three mice were sacrificed at each time point, and total RNA was isolated from the mouse intestinal compartments (stomach through colon). Quantification of L. plantarum 16S rRNA by quantitative real-time reverse-transcription-PCR revealed that L. plantarum was present at elevated levels in the stomach and small intestine for at least 4 h following ingestion and for over 8 h in the cecum and colon. We also examined the expression of 9 L. plantarum housekeeping genes and 15 L. plantarum in vivo-inducible (ivi) genes previously identified by recombination-based in vivo expression technology to be induced in the mouse gastrointestinal tract. The relative expression levels of the ivi genes increased up to 350-fold in the mouse intestine compared to levels observed for L. plantarum WCFS1 cells grown in a rich laboratory medium. Moreover, several genes displayed intestinal compartment-specific (small intestine versus colon) activities. These results confirm that L. plantarum displays specific and differential responses at various sites along the mammalian intestine.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-132
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • lactic-acid bacteria
  • 16s ribosomal-rna
  • protein-synthesis
  • human-microbiota
  • in-vivo
  • identification
  • promoters
  • transit
  • casei
  • diversity


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