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Res Microbiol. 1998 Jun;149(6):433-48.

16S-23S and 23S-5S intergenic spacer regions of lactobacilli: nucleotide sequence, secondary structure and comparative analysis.

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Département des Sciences Biologiques (Microbiologie), Faculté des Sciences de Monastir, Tunisia.


Lactobacilli have been used as industrial starters for a long time, but in several cases their identification was, and still is, neither easy nor reliable. The aim of the present work was to examine whether the intergenic spacer regions could be of value in the identification of Lactobacillus species. For that purpose, the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used to amplify 16S-23S and 23S-5S spacer regions of Lactobacillus (L.) acidophilus, L. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus, L. casei, L. helveticus and L. curvatus. The PCR products were directly sequenced, and two forms of ribosomal RNA (rrn) operons were identified in each species studied: one with tandem tRNA(Ile)/tRNA(Ala) genes and the other one without tRNA genes. Our study revealed that the rrn operons of Lactobacillus species studied comprise the genes of 16S, 23S and 5S rRNA, in that order. Only the tRNA genes and the rRNA processing stems are highly conserved in spacer regions of lactobacilli. The divergence between the lactobacilli spacer region sequences arises from insertions and deletions of short sequences. These sequences could be interesting candidates for the development of species-specific probes. Theoretical RNA/RNA secondary structure models of the interaction between the two spacer region sequences were constructed. In conclusion, the two spacer region sequences may prove to be a useful alternative to 16S and 23S rDNA sequencing for designing species-specific probes and for establishing phylogenetic relationships between closely related species such as L. curvatus and L. casei or L. acidophilus and L. helveticus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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