Genome instability in Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG

W. Sybesma, D. Molenaar, W. Ijcken, K. Venema, R. Kort

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We describe here a comparative genome analysis of three dairy product isolates of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) and the ATCC 53103 reference strain to the published genome sequence of L. rhamnosus GG. The analysis showed that in two of three isolates, major DNA segments were missing from the genomic islands LGGISL1,2. The deleted DNA segments consist of 34 genes in one isolate and 84 genes in the other and are flanked by identical insertion elements. Among the missing genes are the spaCBA genes, which encode pilin subunits involved in adhesion to mucus and persistence of the strains in the human intestinal tract. Subsequent quantitative PCR analyses of six commercial probiotic products confirmed that two more products contain a heterogeneous population of L. rhamnosus GG variants, including genotypes with or without spaC. These results underline the relevance for quality assurance and control measures targeting genome stability in probiotic strains and justify research assessing the effect of genetic rearrangements in probiotics on the outcome of in vitro and in vivo efficacy studies. © 2013, American Society for Microbiology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2233-2239
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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