Genomic insights into high exopolysaccharide-producing dairy starter bacterium Streptococcus thermophilus ASCC 1275

Monday, July 21, 2014: 11:30 AM
3501C (Kansas City Convention Center)
Nagendra Shah , The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Qinglong Wu , The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Hein Min Tun , The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Abstract Text:

Streptococcus thermophilus ASCC 1275 (ST 1275) is a typical dairy starter bacterium and produces the highest known amount (~ 1,000 mg/L) of exopolysaccharide (EPS) in milk within this species. This organism produces both capsular and ropy EPS and possesses textural modifying properties for yogurt and cheese. In this study, de novo shotgun paired-end pyrosequencing was applied to complete the whole genome of ST 1275. The genome size of ST 1275, a plasmid-free bacterium, was ~ 1.85 Mbp with an average GC content of 39.1%. A novel eps gene cluster for EPS assembly containing two-pair genes of epsC-epsD for determining the chain length of EPS was found in ST 1275 genome, which confirms that ST 1275 produces two types of EPSs as found in our previous studies. Compared with other sequenced S. thermophilus strains, ST 1275 possessed the lowest numbers of 5 rRNA operons and 55 tRNAs suggesting that this organism may have a more effective protein synthesis machinery. The highest number of four separate CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats)-Cas (CRISPR-associated) loci was found in ST 1275 genome indicating that this organism may have a better adaptive immunity against various bacteriophage infections. Further analysis including carbohydrate utilization, effective proteolytic system, sophisticated stress response systems and defense systems in ST 1275 was carried out to provide genomic insights into its adaptation to milk and as a cell factory for EPS production during milk fermentation. The elucidation of ST 1275 genome makes this organism as a model dairy starter bacterium for the research of high EPS yield and capsular/ropy EPS producer from the species of S. thermophilus.

Keywords: Genome sequencing; EPS biosynthesis; Streptococcus thermophilus