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1.  Influence of Antimicrobial Feed Additives on Broiler Commensal Posthatch Gut Microbiota Development and Performance ▿ †  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2011;77(10):3380-3390.
The effects of avilamycin, zinc bacitracin, and flavophospholipol on broiler gut microbial community colonization and bird performance in the first 17 days posthatch were investigated. Significant differences in gut microbiota associated with gut section, dietary treatment, and age were identified by terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP), although no performance-related differences between dietary treatments were detected. Similar age-related shifts in the gut microbiota were identified regardless of diet but varied between the ilea and ceca. Interbird variabilities in ileal bacterial communities were reduced (3 to 7 days posthatch) in chicks fed with feed containing antimicrobial agents. Avilamycin and flavophospholipol had the most consistent effect on gut microbial communities. Operational taxonomic units (OTU) linked to changes in gut microbiota in birds on antimicrobial-supplemented diets were characterized and identified. Some OTUs could be identified to the species level; however, the majority could be only tentatively classified to the genus, family, order, or domain level. OTUs 140 to 146 (Lachnospiraceae), OTU 186/188 (Lactobacillus johnsonii), OTU 220 (Lachnospiraceae), OTUs 284 to 288 (unclassified bacterial spp. or Ruminococcaceae), OTU 296/298 (unclassified bacterium or Clostridiales), and OTU 480/482 (Oxalobacteraceae) were less prevalent in the guts of chicks fed antimicrobial-supplemented diets. OTU 178/180 (Lactobacillus crispatus), OTU 152 (Lactobacillus reuteri or unclassified Clostridiales), OTU 198/200 (Subdoligranulum spp.), and OTU 490/492 (unclassified bacterium or Enterobacteriaceae) were less prevalent in the gut of chicks raised on the antimicrobial-free diet. The identification of key bacterial species influenced by antimicrobial-supplemented feed immediately posthatch may assist in the formulation of diets that facilitate beneficial gut microbial colonization and, hence, the development of alternatives to current antimicrobial agents in feed for sustainable poultry production.
PMCID: PMC3126468  PMID: 21441326
2.  Transformation of, and Heterologous Protein Expression in, Lactobacillus agilis and Lactobacillus vaginalis Isolates from the Chicken Gastrointestinal Tract▿  
Lactobacilli are naturally found in the gastrointestinal tract of chickens, and there is interest in utilizing autochthonous strains for the delivery of therapeutic proteins. Previously we identified three chicken-derived Lactobacillus strains, Lactobacillus agilis La3, Lactobacillus vaginalis Lv5, and Lactobacillus crispatus Lc9, which persist in the gastrointestinal tract of chickens fed either a commercial or high-protein diet. In the current study, we investigated the ability to electrotransform these strains, determined plasmid vector stability, and compared reporter gene expression directed by several different promoters. The La3 and Lv5 strains were reproducibly transformed with efficiencies of 108 and 106 transformants per microgram of plasmid DNA, respectively. The third strain tested, L. crispatus Lc9, was recalcitrant to all transformation protocols examined. The plasmid vectors pTRK563 and pTRKH2 were maintained over 100 generations in La3 and Lv5, respectively. The ability of La3 and Lv5 to express the heterologous reporter gene gfp was analyzed using heterologous and homologous promoters. Transformants of both La3 and Lv5 containing the La3 ldhL promoter were the most fluorescent. To our knowledge, this is the first report of successful transformation and heterologous protein expression in L. agilis and L. vaginalis. The ability of these strains to express heterologous proteins in vitro indicates their potential utility as in vivo delivery vectors for therapeutic peptides to the chicken gastrointestinal tract.
PMCID: PMC3019714  PMID: 21075881
3.  Lactobacillus Strain Ecology and Persistence within Broiler Chickens Fed Different Diets: Identification of Persistent Strains ▿ †  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2010;76(19):6494-6503.
Lactobacilli are autochthonous residents in the chicken gastrointestinal tract, where they may potentially be used as probiotics, competitive exclusion agents, or delivery vehicles. The aim of this study was to use an in vivo model to investigate the effect of diet and competing lactic acid bacteria on the colonization of inoculated Lactobacillus strains, with the goal of identifying strains which can consistently colonize or persist for an extended period of several weeks. Chicken-derived Lactobacillus strains were genetically marked with rifampin resistance and administered on day 0 to chickens fed either a normal commercial diet or a specially formulated high-protein diet. Chickens fed the high-protein diet were also coinoculated with two different mixes of additional lactic acid bacteria. Enterobacterial repetitive intergenic consensus sequence-based PCR (ERIC-PCR) was used to identify rifampin-resistant isolates recovered from chickens. Three strains, belonging to the species Lactobacillus agilis, Lactobacillus crispatus, and Lactobacillus vaginalis, were commonly reisolated from the chickens on both diets at days 21 and 42. The ability of these strains to persist was confirmed in a second chicken trial. All three strains persisted throughout the production period in the chickens fed a commercial diet, while only the L. agilis and L. vaginalis strains persisted in the chickens fed the high-protein diet. In both in vivo trials, competing lactic acid bacteria modified representation of the strains recovered, with all three stains capable of competing in the presence of one or both mixes of coinoculated strains. The in vivo model successfully identified three persistent strains that will be characterized further.
PMCID: PMC2950442  PMID: 20693442
4.  Comparison and Utilization of Repetitive-Element PCR Techniques for Typing Lactobacillus Isolates from the Chicken Gastrointestinal Tract▿ † 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2009;75(21):6764-6776.
Three repetitive-element PCR techniques were evaluated for the ability to type strains of Lactobacillus species commonly identified in the chicken gastrointestinal tract. Enterobacterial repetitive intergenic consensus PCR (ERIC-PCR) produced species- and strain-specific profiles for Lactobacillus crispatus, Lactobacillus gallinarum, Lactobacillus johnsonii, and Lactobacillus reuteri isolates. The technique typed strains within these species equally as well as pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. DNA concentration and quality did not affect the ERIC-PCR profiles, indicating that this method, unlike other high-resolution methods, can be adapted to high-throughput analysis of isolates. Subsequently, ERIC-PCR was used to type Lactobacillus species diversity of a large collection of isolates derived from chickens grown under commercial and necrotic enteritis disease induction conditions. This study has illustrated, for the first time, that there is great strain diversity within each Lactobacillus species present and has revealed that chickens raised under commercial conditions harbor greater species and strain diversity than chickens raised under necrotic enteritis disease induction conditions.
PMCID: PMC2772419  PMID: 19749057
5.  Supplementation of the Diet with High-Viscosity Beta-Glucan Results in Enrichment for Lactobacilli in the Rat Cecum 
BBn (BioBreeding) rats were fed casein-based diets supplemented with barley flour, oatmeal flour, cellulose, or barley β-glucans of high [HV] or low viscosity [LV] in order to measure the prebiotic effects of these different sources of dietary fiber. The dietary impact on the composition of the cecal microbiota was determined by the generation of denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) profiles of PCR-amplified 16S rRNA gene sequences. The DGGE profiles produced from the cecal microbiota of rats within each dietary group were similar, but consensus profiles generated from pooled bacterial DNAs showed differences between rat groups. Animals fed HV glucans (HV-fed rats) had DGGE consensus profiles that were 30% dissimilar from those of the other rat groups. A 16S rRNA gene fragment that was more conspicuous in the profiles of HV-fed animals than in those of cellulose-fed rats had sequence identity with Lactobacillus acidophilus. Measurements of L. acidophilus rRNA abundance (DNA-RNA hybridization), the preparation of cloned 16S rRNA gene libraries, and the enumeration of Lactobacillus cells (fluorescent in situ hybridization) showed that lactobacilli formed a greater proportion of the cecal microbiota in HV-fed rats. In vitro experiments confirmed that some lactobacilli utilize oligosaccharides (degree of polymerization, 3 or 4) present in β-glucan hydrolysates. The results of this study have relevance to the use of purified β-glucan products as dietary supplements for human consumption.
PMCID: PMC1393239  PMID: 16517639
6.  Detection, Characterization, and In Vitro and In Vivo Expression of Genes Encoding S-Proteins in Lactobacillus gallinarum Strains Isolated from Chicken Crops 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2005;71(11):6633-6643.
Thirty-eight isolates of Lactobacillus gallinarum cultured from the crops of broiler chickens were screened for the presence of genes encoding S-layer proteins. All of the isolates had two S-protein genes, which were designated Lactobacillus gallinarum S-protein (lgs) genes. One gene in each isolate was either lgsA or lgsB. The Lactobacillus isolates were further characterized by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis of DNA digests, which grouped the isolates into 17 genotypes (strains). The second gene in each of eight representative strains was sequenced and shown to differ among strains (lgsC, lgsD, lgsE, lgsF, lgsG, lgsH, and lgsI). The genome of each strain thus encoded a common S-protein (encoded by either lgsA or lgsB) and a strain-specific S-protein. The extraction of cell surface proteins from cultures of the eight strains showed that each strain produced a single S-protein that was always encoded by the strain-specific lgs gene. Two of the strains were used to inoculate chickens maintained in a protected environment which were Lactobacillus-free prior to inoculation. DNAs and RNAs extracted from the digesta of the chickens were used for PCR and reverse transcription-PCR, respectively, to demonstrate the presence and transcription of lgs genes in vivo. In both cases, only the strain-specific gene was transcribed. Both of the strains adhered to the crop epithelium, consistent with published data predicting that S-proteins of lactobacilli are adhesins. The results of this study provide a basis for the investigation of gene duplication and sequence variation as mechanisms by which bacterial strains of the same species can share the same habitat.
PMCID: PMC1287629  PMID: 16269691
7.  Detection and Identification of Lactobacillus Species in Crops of Broilers of Different Ages by Using PCR-Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis and Amplified Ribosomal DNA Restriction Analysis 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2003;69(11):6750-6757.
The microflora of the crop was investigated throughout the broiler production period (0 to 42 days) using PCR combined with denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE) and selective bacteriological culture of lactobacilli followed by amplified ribosomal DNA restriction analysis (ARDRA). The birds were raised under conditions similar to those used in commercial broiler production. Lactobacilli predominated and attained populations of 108 to 109 CFU per gram of crop contents. Many of the lactobacilli present in the crop (61.9% of isolates) belonged to species of the Lactobacillus acidophilus group and could not be differentiated by PCR-DGGE. A rapid and simple ARDRA method was developed to distinguish between the members of the L. acidophilus group. HaeIII-ARDRA was used for preliminary identification of isolates in the L. acidophilus group and to identify Lactobacillus reuteri and Lactobacillus salivarius. MseI-ARDRA generated unique patterns for all species of the L. acidophilus group, identifying Lactobacillus crispatus, Lactobacillus johnsonii, and Lactobacillus gallinarum among crop isolates. The results of our study provide comprehensive knowledge of the Lactobacillus microflora in the crops of birds of different ages using nucleic acid-based methods of detection and identification based on current taxonomic criteria.
PMCID: PMC262300  PMID: 14602636
8.  A Potential Food-Grade Cloning Vector for Streptococcus thermophilus That Uses Cadmium Resistance as the Selectable Marker 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2003;69(10):5767-5771.
A potential food-grade cloning vector, pND919, was constructed and transformed into S. thermophilus ST3-1, a plasmid-free strain. The vector contains DNAs from two different food-approved organisms, Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactococcus lactis. The 5.0-kb pND919 is a derivative of the cloning vector pND918 (9.3 kb) and was constructed by deletion of the 4.3-kb region of pND918 which contained DNA from non-food-approved organisms. pND919 carries a heterologous native cadmium resistance selectable marker from L. lactis M71 and expresses the Cdr phenotype in S. thermophilus transformants. With the S. thermophilus replicon derived from the shuttle vector pND913, pND919 is able to replicate in the two S. thermophilus industrial strains tested, ST3-1 and ST4-1. Its relatively high retention rate in S. thermophilus further indicates its usefulness as a potential food-grade cloning vector. To our knowledge, this is the first report of a replicative potential food-grade vector for the industrially important organism S. thermophilus.
PMCID: PMC201215  PMID: 14532023
9.  Complete Genomic Sequence of SfV, a Serotype-Converting Temperate Bacteriophage of Shigella flexneri 
Journal of Bacteriology  2002;184(7):1974-1987.
Bacteriophage SfV is a temperate serotype-converting phage of Shigella flexneri. SfV encodes the factors involved in type V O-antigen modification, and the serotype conversion and integration-excision modules of the phage have been isolated and characterized. We now report on the complete sequence of the SfV genome (37,074 bp). A total of 53 open reading frames were predicted from the nucleotide sequence, and analysis of the corresponding proteins was used to construct a functional map. The general organization of the genes in the SfV genome is similar to that of bacteriophage λ, and numerous features of the sequence are described. The superinfection immunity system of SfV includes a lambda-like repression system and a P4-like transcription termination mechanism. Sequence analysis also suggests that SfV encodes multiple DNA methylases, and experiments confirmed that orf-41 encodes a Dam methylase. Studies conducted to determine if the phage-encoded methylase confers host DNA methylation showed that the two S. flexneri strains analyzed encode their own Dam methylase. Restriction mapping and sequence analysis revealed that the phage genome has cos sites at the termini. The tail assembly and structural genes of SfV show homology to those of phage Mu and Mu-like prophages in the genome of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Haemophilus influenzae. Significant homology (30% of the genome in total) between sections of the early, regulatory, and structural regions of the SfV genome and the e14 and KpLE1 prophages in the E. coli K-12 genome were noted, suggesting that these three phages have common evolutionary origins.
PMCID: PMC134923  PMID: 11889106
10.  Molecular Characterization of a New Abortive Infection System (AbiU) from Lactococcus lactis LL51-1 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2001;67(11):5225-5232.
This study reports on the identification and characterization of a novel abortive infection system, AbiU, from Lactococcus lactis. AbiU confers resistance to phages from the three main industrially relevant lactococcal phage species: c2, 936, and P335. The presence of AbiU reduced the efficiency of plaquing against specific phage from each species as follows: 3.7 × 10−1, 1.0 × 10−2, and 1.0 × 10−1, respectively. abiU involves two open reading frames, abiU1 (1,772 bp) and abiU2 (1,019 bp). Evidence indicates that AbiU1 is responsible for phage resistance and that AbiU2 may downregulate phage resistance against 936 and P335 type phages but not c2 type phage. AbiU appeared to delay transcription of both phage 712 and c2, with the effect being more marked on phage c2.
PMCID: PMC93294  PMID: 11679349

Results 1-10 (10)