Transcriptomes reveal genetic signatures underlying physiological variations imposed by different fermentation conditions in Lactobacillus plantarum

P.A. Bron, M. Wels, R.S. Bongers, H. van Bokhorst-van de Veen, A. Wiersma, L. Overmars, M.L. Marco, M. Kleerebezem

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Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are utilized widely for the fermentation of foods. In the current post-genomic era, tools have been developed that explore genetic diversity among LAB strains aiming to link these variations to differential phenotypes observed in the strains investigated. However, these genotype-phenotype matching approaches fail to assess the role of conserved genes in the determination of physiological characteristics of cultures by environmental conditions. This manuscript describes a complementary approach in which Lactobacillus plantarum WCFS1 was fermented under a variety of conditions that differ in temperature, pH, as well as NaCl, amino acid, and O2 levels. Samples derived from these fermentations were analyzed by full-genome transcriptomics, paralleled by the assessment of physiological characteristics, e.g., maximum growth rate, yield, and organic acid profiles. A data-storage and -mining suite designated FermDB was constructed and exploited to identify correlations between fermentation conditions and industrially relevant physiological characteristics of L. plantarum, as well as the associated transcriptome signatures. Finally, integration of the specific fermentation variables with the transcriptomes enabled the reconstruction of the gene-regulatory networks involved. The fermentation-genomics platform presented here is a valuable complementary approach to earlier described genotype-phenotype matching strategies which allows the identification of transcriptome signatures underlying physiological variations imposed by different fermentation conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere38720
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2012



  • lactic-acid bacteria
  • complete genome sequence
  • lactococcus-lactis
  • ribonucleotide reductase
  • escherichia-coli
  • stationary-phase
  • microarray data
  • aerobic growth
  • diversity
  • pathways

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