Lactobacillus rhamnosus DSM 14870 and Lactobacillus gasseri DSM 14869 were previously isolated from the vaginal epithelial cells (VEC) of healthy women and selected for the development of the vaginal EcoVag® probiotic capsules. EcoVag® was subsequently shown to provide long-term cure and reduce relapse of bacterial vaginosis (BV) as an adjunct to antibiotic therapy. To identify genes potentially involved in probiotic activity, we performed genome sequencing and characterization of the two strains. The complete genome analysis of both strains revealed the presence of genes encoding functions related to adhesion, exopolysaccharide (EPS) biosynthesis, antimicrobial activity, and CRISPR adaptive immunity but absence of antibiotic resistance genes. Interesting features of L. rhamnosus DSM 14870 genome include the presence of the spaCBA-srtC gene encoding spaCBA pili and interruption of the gene cluster encoding long galactose-rich EPS by integrases. Unique to L. gasseri DSM 14869 genome was the presence of a gene encoding a putative (1456 amino acid) new adhesin containing two rib/alpha-like repeats. L. rhamnosus DSM 14870 and L. gasseri DSM 14869 showed acidification of the culture medium (to pH 3.8) and a strong adhesion capability to the Caco-2 cell line and VEC. L. gasseri DSM 14869 could produce a thick (40nm) EPS layer and hydrogen peroxide. L. rhamnosus DSM 14870 was shown to produce SpaCBA pili and a 20nm EPS layer, and could inhibit the growth of Gardnerella vaginalis, a bacterium commonly associated with BV. The genome sequences provide a basis for further elucidation of the molecular basis for their probiotic functions.
Keywords: Adherence; Bacterial vaginosis; Genome; Lactobacillus gasseri; Lactobacillus rhamnosus; Probiotic.
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