Transcriptional and functional analysis of galactooligosaccharide uptake by lacS in Lactobacillus acidophilus

Joakim M. Andersen, Rodolphe Barrangou, Maher Abou Hachem, Sampo Lahtinen, Yong Jun Goh, Birte Svensson, Todd R. Klaenhammer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Probiotic microbes rely on their ability to survive in the gastrointestinal tract, adhere to mucosal surfaces, and metabolize available energy sources from dietary compounds, including prebiotics. Genome sequencing projects have proposed models for understanding prebiotic catabolism, but mechanisms remain to be elucidated for many prebiotic substrates. Although β- galactooligosaccharides (GOS) are documented prebiotic compounds, little is known about their utilization by lactobacilli. This study aimed to identify genetic loci in Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM responsible for the transport and catabolism of GOS. Whole-genome oligonucleotide microarrays were used to survey the differential global transcriptome during logarithmic growth of L. acidophilus NCFM using GOS or glucose as a sole source of carbohydrate. Within the 16.6-kbp gal-lac gene cluster, lacS, a galactoside-pentose-hexuronide permease-encoding gene, was up-regulated 5.1-fold in the presence of GOS. In addition, two β-galactosidases, LacA and LacLM, and enzymes in the Leloir pathway were also encoded by genes within this locus and up-regulated by GOS stimulation. Generation of a lacS-deficient mutant enabled phenotypic confirmation of the functional LacS permease not only for the utilization of lactose and GOS but also lactitol, suggesting a prominent role of LacS in the metabolism of a broad range of prebiotic β-galactosides, known to selectively modulate the beneficial gut microbiota.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17785-17790
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number43
StatePublished - Oct 25 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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