Comparative functional genomics of Lactobacillus spp. reveals possible mechanisms for specialization of vaginal lactobacilli to their environment

Helena Mendes-Soares, Haruo Suzuki, Roxana J. Hickey, Larry J. Forneya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

46 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Lactobacilli are found in a wide variety of habitats. Four species, Lactobacillus crispatus, L. gasseri, L. iners, and L. jensenii, are common and abundant in the human vagina and absent from other habitats. These may be adapted to the vagina and possess characteristics enabling them to thrive in that environment. Furthermore, stable codominance of multiple Lactobacillus species in a single community is infrequently observed. Thus, it is possible that individual vaginal Lactobacillus species possess unique characteristics that confer to them host-specific competitive advantages. We performed comparative functional genomic analyses of representatives of 25 species of Lactobacillus, searching for habitat-specific traits in the genomes of the vaginal lactobacilli. We found that the genomes of the vaginal species were significantly smaller and had significantly lower GC content than those of the nonvaginal species. No protein families were found to be specific to the vaginal species analyzed, but some were either overor underrepresented relative to nonvaginal species. We also found that within the vaginal species, each genome coded for species- specific protein families. Our results suggest that even though the vaginal species show no general signatures of adaptation to the vaginal environment, each species has specific and perhaps unique ways of interacting with its environment, be it the host or other microbes in the community. These findings will serve as a foundation for further exploring the role of lactobacilli in the ecological dynamics of vaginal microbial communities and their ultimate impact on host health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1458-1470
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Volume196
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Lactobacillus
Genomics
Ecosystem
Vagina
Genome
Base Composition
Proteins
Health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology

Cite this

Comparative functional genomics of Lactobacillus spp. reveals possible mechanisms for specialization of vaginal lactobacilli to their environment. / Mendes-Soares, Helena; Suzuki, Haruo; Hickey, Roxana J.; Forneya, Larry J.

In: Journal of Bacteriology, Vol. 196, No. 7, 2014, p. 1458-1470.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{1441a9d355e340dc8beefc6def485fbe,
title = "Comparative functional genomics of Lactobacillus spp. reveals possible mechanisms for specialization of vaginal lactobacilli to their environment",
abstract = "Lactobacilli are found in a wide variety of habitats. Four species, Lactobacillus crispatus, L. gasseri, L. iners, and L. jensenii, are common and abundant in the human vagina and absent from other habitats. These may be adapted to the vagina and possess characteristics enabling them to thrive in that environment. Furthermore, stable codominance of multiple Lactobacillus species in a single community is infrequently observed. Thus, it is possible that individual vaginal Lactobacillus species possess unique characteristics that confer to them host-specific competitive advantages. We performed comparative functional genomic analyses of representatives of 25 species of Lactobacillus, searching for habitat-specific traits in the genomes of the vaginal lactobacilli. We found that the genomes of the vaginal species were significantly smaller and had significantly lower GC content than those of the nonvaginal species. No protein families were found to be specific to the vaginal species analyzed, but some were either overor underrepresented relative to nonvaginal species. We also found that within the vaginal species, each genome coded for species- specific protein families. Our results suggest that even though the vaginal species show no general signatures of adaptation to the vaginal environment, each species has specific and perhaps unique ways of interacting with its environment, be it the host or other microbes in the community. These findings will serve as a foundation for further exploring the role of lactobacilli in the ecological dynamics of vaginal microbial communities and their ultimate impact on host health.",
author = "Helena Mendes-Soares and Haruo Suzuki and Hickey, {Roxana J.} and Forneya, {Larry J.}",
year = "2014",
doi = "10.1128/JB.01439-13",
language = "English",
volume = "196",
pages = "1458--1470",
journal = "Journal of Bacteriology",
issn = "0021-9193",
publisher = "American Society for Microbiology",
number = "7",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Comparative functional genomics of Lactobacillus spp. reveals possible mechanisms for specialization of vaginal lactobacilli to their environment

AU - Mendes-Soares, Helena

AU - Suzuki, Haruo

AU - Hickey, Roxana J.

AU - Forneya, Larry J.

PY - 2014

Y1 - 2014

N2 - Lactobacilli are found in a wide variety of habitats. Four species, Lactobacillus crispatus, L. gasseri, L. iners, and L. jensenii, are common and abundant in the human vagina and absent from other habitats. These may be adapted to the vagina and possess characteristics enabling them to thrive in that environment. Furthermore, stable codominance of multiple Lactobacillus species in a single community is infrequently observed. Thus, it is possible that individual vaginal Lactobacillus species possess unique characteristics that confer to them host-specific competitive advantages. We performed comparative functional genomic analyses of representatives of 25 species of Lactobacillus, searching for habitat-specific traits in the genomes of the vaginal lactobacilli. We found that the genomes of the vaginal species were significantly smaller and had significantly lower GC content than those of the nonvaginal species. No protein families were found to be specific to the vaginal species analyzed, but some were either overor underrepresented relative to nonvaginal species. We also found that within the vaginal species, each genome coded for species- specific protein families. Our results suggest that even though the vaginal species show no general signatures of adaptation to the vaginal environment, each species has specific and perhaps unique ways of interacting with its environment, be it the host or other microbes in the community. These findings will serve as a foundation for further exploring the role of lactobacilli in the ecological dynamics of vaginal microbial communities and their ultimate impact on host health.

AB - Lactobacilli are found in a wide variety of habitats. Four species, Lactobacillus crispatus, L. gasseri, L. iners, and L. jensenii, are common and abundant in the human vagina and absent from other habitats. These may be adapted to the vagina and possess characteristics enabling them to thrive in that environment. Furthermore, stable codominance of multiple Lactobacillus species in a single community is infrequently observed. Thus, it is possible that individual vaginal Lactobacillus species possess unique characteristics that confer to them host-specific competitive advantages. We performed comparative functional genomic analyses of representatives of 25 species of Lactobacillus, searching for habitat-specific traits in the genomes of the vaginal lactobacilli. We found that the genomes of the vaginal species were significantly smaller and had significantly lower GC content than those of the nonvaginal species. No protein families were found to be specific to the vaginal species analyzed, but some were either overor underrepresented relative to nonvaginal species. We also found that within the vaginal species, each genome coded for species- specific protein families. Our results suggest that even though the vaginal species show no general signatures of adaptation to the vaginal environment, each species has specific and perhaps unique ways of interacting with its environment, be it the host or other microbes in the community. These findings will serve as a foundation for further exploring the role of lactobacilli in the ecological dynamics of vaginal microbial communities and their ultimate impact on host health.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84895734985&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84895734985&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1128/JB.01439-13

DO - 10.1128/JB.01439-13

M3 - Article

VL - 196

SP - 1458

EP - 1470

JO - Journal of Bacteriology

JF - Journal of Bacteriology

SN - 0021-9193

IS - 7

ER -