Effect of a BlpC-Based Quorum-Sensing Induction Peptide on Bacteriocin Production in Streptococcus thermophilus

George A. Somkuti, J. A. Renye


Bacteriocin synthesis in some Streptococcus thermophilus strains is under the control of a complex blp locus but bacteriocin is produced only when a quorum-sensing regulatory mechanism is activated by the protein product of the blpC component. To demonstrate the regulatory effect of BlpC in S. thermophilus ST110 (NRRL-B59671), which naturally produces bacteriocin, the effect of the 30mer quorum-sensing induction peptide (QSIP) embedded in BlpC was tested in a knockout mutant in which the blpC gene was eliminated and was devoid of antimicrobial activity. Between concentrations of 30 and 250 ng/ml, the addition of synthetic QSIP to cultures at several points of the growth curve resulted in the accumulation of up to 3,200 units/ml of bacteriocin after 8 h of growth at 37 ºC. Addition of QSIP to the culture in late log phase (OD660 ? 1.0) when the medium pH is already 4.8 or lower, failed to trigger bacteriocin production. We used synthetic QSIP to survey its impact on 35 strains of S. thermophilus that do not display bacteriocin activity by agar diffusion assays. The addition of QSIP (250 ng/ml) to S. thermophilus cultures in the early or mid-log phase induced bacteriocin production in two strains that could be re-classified as bacteriocin producers. The results demonstrated the involvement of a quorum-sensing regulatory mechanism in bacteriocin synthesis in S. thermophilus ST110 and also demonstrated the utility of the 30 mer QSIP in discovering bacteriocins with potentially novel antimicrobial spectra by enhancing bacteriocin production in other strains of S. thermophilus that ordinarily display a bacteriocin-negative phenotype.


bacteriocins, Streptococcus thermophilus, blpC gene, quorum-sensing peptide

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5539/jfr.v4n1p88


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Journal of Food Research   ISSN 1927-0887 (Print)   ISSN 1927-0895 (Online)  E-mail: jfr@ccsenet.org

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