Transcriptional reprogramming and phenotypic switching associated with the adaptation of Lactobacillus plantarum C2 to plant niches
Di Cagno R
De Virgilio C
De Angelis M
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Lactobacillus plantarum has been isolated from a large variety of ecological niches, thus highlighting its remarkable environmental adaptability as a generalist. Plant fermentation conditions markedly affect the functional features of L. plantarum strains. We investigated the plant niche-specific traits of L. plantarum through whole-transcriptome and phenotypic microarray profiles. Carrot (CJ) and pineapple (PJ) juices were chosen as model systems, and MRS broth was used as a control. A set of 3,122 genes was expressed, and 21 to 31% of genes were differentially expressed depending on the plant niche and cell physiological state. L. plantarum C2 seemed to specifically respond to plant media conditions. When L. plantarum was cultured in CJ, useful pathways were activated, which were aimed to sense the environment, save energy and adopt alternative routes for NAD(+) regeneration. In PJ the acidic environment caused a transcriptional switching, which was network-linked to an acid tolerance response involving carbohydrate flow, amino acid and protein metabolism, pH homeostasis and membrane fluidity. The most prominent phenotypic dissimilarities observed in cells grown in CJ and PJ were related to carbon and nitrogen metabolism, respectively. Summarising, a snapshot of a carrot and pineapple sensing and adaptive regulation model for L. plantarum C2 was proposed.