DOI: 10.3390/microorganisms11122923 ISSN: 2076-2607

Motility in Periweissella Species: Genomic and Phenotypic Characterization and Update on Motility in Lactobacillaceae

Francesca Fanelli, Marco Montemurro, Daniele Chieffi, Gyu-Sung Cho, Hui-Zhi Low, Frank Hille, Charles M. A. P. Franz, Vincenzina Fusco
  • Virology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Microbiology

The genus Weissella and the recently described genus Periweissella, to which some previously named Weissella species have been reclassified as a result of a taxogenomic assessment, includes lactic acid bacteria species with high biotechnological and probiotic potential. Only one species, namely, Periweissella (P.) beninensis, whose type strain has been shown to possess probiotic features, has so far been described to be motile. However, the availability of numerous genome sequences of Weissella and Periweissella species prompted the possibility to screen for the presence of the genetic determinants encoding motility in Weissella and Periweissellas spp. other than P. beninensis. Herein, we performed a comprehensive genomic analysis to identify motility-related proteins in all Weissella and Periweissella species described so far, and extended the analysis to the recently sequenced Lactobacillaceae spp. Furthermore, we performed motility assays and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) on Periweissella type strains to confirm the genomic prediction. The homology-based analysis revealed genes coding for motility proteins only in the type strains of P. beninensis, P. fabalis, P. fabaria and P. ghanensis genomes. However, only the P. beninensis type strain was positive in the motility assay and displayed run-and-tumble behavior. Many peritrichous and long flagella on bacterial cells were visualized via TEM, as well. As for the Lactobacillaceae, in addition to the species previously described to harbor motility proteins, the genetic determinants of motility were also found in the genomes of the type strains of Lactobacillus rogosae and Ligilactobacillus salitolerans. This study, which is one of the first to analyze the genomes of Weissella, Periweissella and the recently sequenced Lactobacillaceae spp. for the presence of genes coding for motility proteins and which assesses the associated motility phenotypes, provides novel results that expand knowledge on these genera and are useful in the further characterization of lactic acid bacteria.

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