Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) is a probiotic commonly used in fermented dairy products. In this study, RNA-sequencing was performed to unravel the effects of acid stress on LGG. The transcriptomic data revealed that the exposure of LGG to acid at pH 4.5 (resembling the final pH of fermented dairy products) for 1 h or 24 h provoked a stringent-type transcriptomic response wherein stress response-and glycolysis-related genes were upregulated, whereas genes involved in gluconeogenesis, amino acid metabolism, and nucleotide metabolism were suppressed. Notably, the pilus-specific adhesion genes, spaC, and spaF were significantly upregulated upon exposure to acid-stress. The transcriptomic results were further confirmed via quantitative polymerase chain reaction analysis. Moreover, acid-stressed LGG demonstrated an enhanced mucin-binding ability in vitro, with 1 log more LGG cells (p < 0.05) bound to a mucin layer in a 96-well culture plate as compared to the control. The enhanced intestinal binding ability of acid-stressed LGG was confirmed in an animal study, wherein significantly more viable LGG cells (≥ 2 log CFU/g) were observed in the ileum, caecum, and colon of acid-stressed LGG-treated mice as compared with a non-acid-stressed LGG-treated control group. To our knowledge, this is the first report showing that acid stress enhanced the intestine-binding ability of LGG through the induction of pili-related genes.
- Microbial physiology
- Stress response
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology