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Syst Appl Microbiol. 2008 Oct;31(5):323-38. doi: 10.1016/j.syapm.2008.06.005. Epub 2008 Aug 30.

Global transcriptional response of Lactobacillus reuteri to the sourdough environment.

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  • 1Institute of Food Science and Biotechnology, Section Food Microbiology, University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany.


Lactobacillus reuteri is a lactic acid bacterium that is highly adapted to the sourdough environment. It is a dominant member of industrial type II sourdoughs, and is also able to colonize the intestinal tract of mammals, including humans, and birds. In this study, the transcriptional response of L. reuteri ATCC 55730 was investigated during sourdough fermentation by using whole-genome microarrays. Significant changes of mRNA levels were found for 101 genes involved in diverse cellular processes, such as carbohydrate and energy metabolism, cell envelope biosynthesis, exopolysaccharide production, stress responses, signal transduction and cobalamin biosynthesis. The results showed extensive changes of the organism's gene expression during growth in sourdough as compared with growth in chemically defined medium, and, thus, revealed pathways involved in the adaptation of L. reuteri to the ecological niche of sourdough. The utilization of starch and non-starch carbohydrates, the remodelling of the cell wall, characterized by reduced D-alanylation, and increased amounts of cell wall-associated polysaccharides, as well as the regulatory function of two component systems for cell wall biogenesis and metabolism were suggested by the gene expression data as being important for growth in sourdough. The impact of several L. reuteri genes for effective growth in sourdough was shown by implementation of mutant strains in sourdough fermentation. This study contributes to the understanding of the molecular fundamentals of L. reuteri's ecological competitiveness, and provides a basis for further exploration of genetic traits involved in adaptation to the food environment.

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