Structural similarity and distribution of small cryptic plasmids of Lactobacillus curvatus and L. sake

Rudi F. Vogel, Martin Lohmann, Andrea N. Weller, Marta Hugas, Walter P. Hammes

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Plasmid profiles of strains of Lactobacillus curvatus and L. sake isolated from meat or sauerkraut were analysed to investigate plasmid homology and distribution in relation to the ecology of these organisms in fermenting foods. A hybridisation probe was constructed by cloning of pLc2, a cryptic, 2.6-kbp plasmid from L. curvatus LTH683, into the Escherichia coli plasmid pRV50. In Southern hybridisations with the digoxygenine labeled pLc2 probe, pLc2-related small plasmids were frequently detected in meat-borne strains of L. casei subsp. pseudoplantarum, L. curvatus, L. sake, L. alimentarius, L. farciminis and L. halotolerans and in L. curvatus and L. sake isolated from sauerkraut. Among 27 Lactobacillus type strains originally isolated from habitats other than meat this type of homology was detected only with plasmids of L. buchneri and L. mali. Restriction-enzyme mapping of six small cryptic plasmids from L. curvatus and L. sake revealed strong structural homology but not similarity to previously characterized plasmids of lactobacilli. The presence of a variable region in addition to a conserved one and the occurrence of deletions during cloning of pLc2 suggest that vectors derived from these plasmids are likely to be structurally unstable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-190
Number of pages8
JournalFEMS Microbiology Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - 15 Nov 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Ecology
  • Lactobacillus curvatus
  • Lactobacillus sake
  • Meat fermentation
  • Plasmid
  • Sauerkraut


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