The genomic basis of the Streptococcus thermophilus health-promoting properties - INRAE - Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement Access content directly
Journal Articles BMC Genomics Year : 2022

The genomic basis of the Streptococcus thermophilus health-promoting properties


Background: Streptococcus thermophilus is a Gram-positive bacterium widely used as starter in the dairy industry as well as in many traditional fermented products. In addition to its technological importance, it has also gained interest in recent years as beneficial bacterium due to human health-promoting functionalities. The objective of this study was to inventory the main health-promoting properties of S. thermophilus and to study their intra-species diversity at the genomic and genetic level within a collection of representative strains. Results: In this study various health-related functions were analyzed at the genome level from 79 genome sequences of strains isolated over a long time period from diverse products and different geographic locations. While some functions are widely conserved among isolates (e.g., degradation of lactose, folate production) suggesting their central physiological and ecological role for the species, others including the tagatose-6-phosphate pathway involved in the catabolism of galactose, and the production of bioactive peptides and gamma-aminobutyric acid are strainspecific. Most of these strain-specific health-promoting properties seems to have been acquired via horizontal gene transfer events. The genetic basis for the phenotypic diversity between strains for some health related traits have also been investigated. For instance, substitutions in the galK promoter region correlate with the ability of some strains to catabolize galactose via the Leloir pathway. Finally, the low occurrence in S. thermophilus genomes of genes coding for biogenic amine production and antibiotic resistance is also a contributing factor to its safety status. Conclusions: The natural intra-species diversity of S. thermophilus, therefore, represents an interesting source for innovation in the field of fermented products enriched for healthy components that can be exploited to improve human health. A better knowledge of the health-promoting properties and their genomic and genetic diversity within the species may facilitate the selection and application of strains for specific biotechnological and human health-promoting purpose. Moreover, by pointing out that a substantial part of its functional potential still defies us, our work opens the way to uncover additional health-related functions through the intra-species diversity exploration of S. thermophilus by comparative genomics approaches.
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Dates and versions

hal-03612308 , version 1 (17-03-2022)





Emeline Roux, Aurélie Nicolas, Florence Valence, Grégoire Siekaniec, Victoria Chuat, et al.. The genomic basis of the Streptococcus thermophilus health-promoting properties. BMC Genomics, 2022, 23, pp.1-23. ⟨10.1186/s12864-022-08459-y⟩. ⟨hal-03612308⟩
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