Lactose metabolism and lactase gene sequence homologies amongst lactobacilli
Collins, M.A. | Thompson, J.K.
A number of strains of Lactobacillus spp., including the thermophilic and mesophilic dairy species, were screened for the presence of beta-galactosidase (beta-gal) and phospho-beta-galactosidase (pbg) enzyme activities. The majority of lactose fermenting strains exhibited beta-gal rather than pbg enzyme activity with the highest levels in the thermophilic dairy species. Correlation between these enzymes and the presence of specific genetic determinants was sought using probes for beta-gal and pbg genes from Lactobacillus casei ssp. casei strain 64H. Southern transfer and filter hybridization showed that the beta-gal probe shared homology with one strain of Lact. casei ssp. casei only. Sequences homologous to the pbg gene were detected only in plasmid DNA from the same strain of Lact. casei ssp. casei and with plasmid DNA from an apparently unrelated strain of Lactobacillus which exhibited no pbg activity. Two other strains of Lact. casei ssp. casei appeared to show homology between their chromosomal DNA and the pbg gene probe. No other homologies were detected. Therefore, although lactase activity could be detected in many strains of Lactobacillus spp., the genetic determinants involved did not share extensive homology.Show more [+] Less [-]