Bile salt hydrolase (BSH) is a well-known enzyme that has been commonly characterized in probiotic bacteria, as it has cholesterol-lowering effects. However, its molecular investigations are scarce. Here, we build a local database of BSH sequences from Lactobacillaceae (BSH⁻SDL), and phylogenetic analysis and homology searches were employed to elucidate their comparability and distinctiveness among species. Evolutionary study demonstrates that BSH sequences in BSH⁻SDL are divided into five groups, named BSH A, B, C, D and E here, which can be the genetic basis for BSH classification and nomenclature. Sequence analysis suggests the differences between BSH-active and BSH-inactive proteins clearly, especially on site 82. In addition, a total of 551 BSHs from 107 species are identified from 451 genomes of 158 Lactobacillaceae species. Interestingly, those bacteria carrying various copies of BSH A or B can be predicted to be potential cholesterol-lowering probiotics, based on the results of phylogenetic analysis and the subtypes that those previously reported BSH-active probiotics possess. In summary, this study elaborates the molecular basis of BSH in Lactobacillaceae systematically, and provides a novel methodology as well as a consistent standard for the identification of the BSH subtype. We believe that high-throughput screening can be efficiently applied to the selection of promising candidate BSH-active probiotics, which will advance the development of healthcare products in cholesterol metabolism.
Keywords: BSH classification; Lactobacillaceae; bile salt hydrolase (BSH); cholesterol-lowering probiotics; genome survey.