Lactobacilli are found in diverse environments and are widely applied as probiotic, health-promoting food supplements. Polysaccharides are ubiquitously present on the cell surface of lactobacilli and are considered to contribute to the species- and strainspecific probiotic effects that are typically observed. Two Lactobacillus plantarum strains, SF2A35B and Lp90, have an obvious ropy phenotype, implying high extracellular polysaccharide (EPS) production levels. In this work, we set out to identify the genes involved in EPS production in these L. plantarum strains and to demonstrate their role in EPS production by gene deletion analysis. A model L. plantarum strain, WCFS1, and its previously constructed derivative that produced reduced levels of EPS were included as reference strains. The constructed EPS-reduced derivatives were analyzed for the abundance and sugar compositions of their EPS, revealing cps2-like gene clusters in SF2A35B and Lp90 responsible for major EPS production. Moreover, these mutant strains were tested for phenotypic characteristics that are of relevance for their capacity to interact with the host epithelium in the intestinal tract, including bacterial surface properties as well as survival under the stress conditions encountered in the gastrointestinal tract (acid and bile stress). In addition, the Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) signaling and immunomodulatory capacities of the EPS-negative derivatives and their respective wild-type strains were compared, revealing strain-specific impacts of EPS on the immunomodulatory properties. Taken together, these experiments illustrate the importance of EPS in L. plantarum strains as a strain-specific determinant in host interaction.