Large Plasmid Complement Resolved: Complete Genome Sequencing of Lactobacillus plantarum MF1298, a Candidate Probiotic Strain Associated with Unfavorable Effect

Microorganisms. 2019 Aug 14;7(8):262. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms7080262.


Considerable attention has been given to the species Lactobacillus plantarum regarding its probiotic potential. L. plantarum strains have shown health benefits in several studies, and even nonstrain-specific claims are allowed in certain markets. L. plantarum strain MF1298 was considered a candidate probiotic, demonstrating in vitro probiotic properties and the ability to survive passage through the human intestinal tract. However, the strain showed an unfavorable effect on symptoms in subjects with irritable bowel syndrome in a clinical trial. The properties and the genome of this strain are thus of general interest. Obtaining the complete genome of strain MF1298 proved difficult due to its large plasmid complement. Here, we exploit a combination of sequencing approaches to obtain the complete chromosome and plasmid assemblies of MF1298. The Oxford Nanopore Technologies MinION long-read sequencer was particularly useful in resolving the unusually large number of plasmids in the strain, 14 in total. The complete genome sequence of 3,576,440 basepairs contains 3272 protein-encoding genes, of which 315 are located on plasmids. Few unique regions were found in comparison with other L. plantarum genomes. Notably, however, one of the plasmids contains genes related to vitamin B12 (cobalamin) turnover and genes encoding bacterial reverse transcriptases, features not previously reported for L. plantarum. The extensive plasmid information will be important for future studies with this strain.

Keywords: Illumina sequencing; Lactobacillus plantarum; Oxford Nanopore MinION sequencing; PacBio sequencing; lactic acid bacterium; plasmid assembly; probiotic.