This study presents the complete genome sequence of Lactobacillus gasseri ATCC 33323, a neotype strain of human origin and a native species found commonly in the gastrointestinal tracts of neonates and adults. The plasmid-free genome was 1,894,360 bp in size and predicted to encode 1,810 genes. The GC content was 35.3%, similar to the GC content of its closest relatives, L. johnsonii NCC 533 (34%) and L. acidophilus NCFM (34%). Two identical copies of the prophage LgaI (40,086 bp), of the Sfi11-like Siphoviridae phage family, were integrated tandomly in the chromosome. A number of unique features were identified in the genome of L. gasseri that were likely acquired by horizontal gene transfer and may contribute to the survival of this bacterium in its ecological niche. L. gasseri encodes two restriction and modification systems, which may limit bacteriophage infection. L. gasseri also encodes an operon for production of heteropolysaccharides of high complexity. A unique alternative sigma factor was present similar to that of B. caccae ATCC 43185, a bacterial species isolated from human feces. In addition, L. gasseri encoded the highest number of putative mucus-binding proteins (14) among lactobacilli sequenced to date. Selected phenotypic characteristics that were compared between ATCC 33323 and other human L. gasseri strains included carbohydrate fermentation patterns, growth and survival in bile, oxalate degradation, and adhesion to intestinal epithelial cells, in vitro. The results from this study indicated high intraspecies variability from a genome encoding traits important for survival and retention in the gastrointestinal tract.
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