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Background: Lactobacillus salivarius strains are increasingly being exploited for their probiotic properties in humans and animals. Dissemination of antibiotic resistance genes among species with food or probiotic-association is undesirable and is often mediated by plasmids or integrative and conjugative elements. L. salivarius strains typically have multireplicon genomes including circular megaplasmids that encode strain-specific traits for intestinal survival and probiotic activity. Linear plasmids are less common in lactobacilli and show a very limited distribution in L. salivarius. Here we present experimental evidence that supports an unusually complex multireplicon genome structure in the porcine isolate L. salivarius JCM1046.Results: JCM1046 harbours a 1.83 Mb chromosome, and four plasmids which constitute 20% of the genome. In addition to the known 219 kb repA-type megaplasmid pMP1046A, we identified and experimentally validated the topology of three additional replicons, the circular pMP1046B (129 kb), a linear plasmid pLMP1046 (101 kb) and pCTN1046 (33 kb) harbouring a conjugative transposon. pMP1046B harbours both plasmid-associated replication genes and paralogues of chromosomally encoded housekeeping and information-processing related genes, thus qualifying it as a putative chromid. pLMP1046 shares limited sequence homology or gene synteny with other L. salivarius plasmids, and its putative replication-associated protein is homologous to the RepA/E proteins found in the large circular megaplasmids of L. salivarius. Plasmid pCTN1046 harbours a single copy of an integrated conjugative transposon (Tn6224) which appears to be functionally intact and includes the tetracycline resistance gene tetM.Conclusion: Experimental validation of sequence assemblies and plasmid topology resolved the complex genome architecture of L. salivarius JCM1046. A high-coverage draft genome sequence would not have elucidated the genome complexity in this strain. Given the expanding use of L. salivarius as a probiotic, it is important to determine the genotypic and phenotypic organization of L. salivarius strains. The identification of Tn6224-like elements in this species has implications for strain selection for probiotic applications.
Raftis, E. J., Forde, B. M., Claesson, M. J., & O’Toole, P. W. (2014). Unusual genome complexity in Lactobacillus salivarius JCM1046. BMC Genomics, 15(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2164-15-771