Strains of Lactococcus lactis isolated from plant tissues possess adaptations that support their survival and growth in plant-associated microbial habitats. We previously demonstrated that genes coding for a hybrid nonribosomal peptide synthetase/polyketide synthase (NRPS/PKS) system involved in production of an uncharacterized secondary metabolite are specifically induced in L. lactis KF147 during growth on plant tissues. Notably, this NRPS/PKS has only been identified in plant-isolated strains of L. lactis. Here, we show that the L. lactis KF147 NRPS/PKS genes have homologs in certain Streptococcus mutans isolates and the genetic organization of the NRPS/PKS locus is conserved among L. lactis strains. Using an L. lactis KF147 mutant deficient in synthesis of NrpC, a 4'-phosphopantetheinyl transferase, we found that the NRPS/PKS system improves L. lactis during growth under oxidative conditions in Arapidopsis thaliana leaf lysate. The NRPS/PKS system also improves tolerance of L. lactis to reactive oxygen species and specifically H2 O2 and superoxide radicals in culture medium. These findings indicate that this secondary metabolite provides a novel mechanism for reactive oxygen species detoxification not previously known for this species.
Keywords: Lactococcus lactis; NRPS/PKS; Plant-associated bacteria; natural products; reactive oxygen species; secondary metabolites.
© 2017 The Authors. MicrobiologyOpen published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.