Lactobacillus Surface Layers and Their Applications

FEMS Microbiol Rev. 2005 Aug;29(3):511-29. doi: 10.1016/j.femsre.2005.04.003.


Surface (S-) layers are crystalline arrays of proteinaceous subunits present as the outermost component of cell wall in several species of the genus Lactobacillus, as well as in many other bacteria and Archaea. Despite the high similarity of the amino acid composition of all known S-layer proteins, the overall sequence similarity is, however, surprisingly small even between the Lactobacillus S-layer proteins. In addition, the typical characteristics of Lactobacillus S-layer proteins, distinguishing them from other S-layer proteins, are small size and high-predicted pI value. Several lactobacilli possess multiple S-layer protein genes, which can be differentially or simultaneously expressed. To date, the characterized functions of Lactobacillus S-layers are involved in mediating adhesion to different host tissues. A few applications for the S-layer proteins of lactobacilli already exist, including their use as antigen delivery vehicles.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / immunology
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Membrane / physiology
  • Cell Wall / chemistry
  • Cell Wall / physiology
  • Lactobacillus / chemistry
  • Lactobacillus / genetics
  • Lactobacillus / metabolism
  • Lactobacillus / physiology*
  • Surface Properties


  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins