DinJ-YafQ is a type II TA system comprising the ribosome-dependent RNase YafQ toxin and the DinJ antitoxin protein. Although the module has been extensively characterized in Escherichia coli, little information is available for homologous systems in lactic acid bacteria. In this study, we employed bioinformatics tools to identify DinJ-YafQ systems in Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus paracasei and Lactobacillus rhamnosus species, commonly used in biotechnological processes. Among a total of nineteen systems found, two TA modules from Lactobacillus paracasei and two modules from Lactobacillus rhamnosus wild strains were isolated and their activity was verified by growth assays in Escherichia coli either in liquid and solid media. The RNase activity of the YafQ toxins was verified in vivo by probing mRNA dynamics and metabolism with single-cell Thioflavin T fluorescence. Our findings demonstrate that, albeit DinJ-YafQ TA systems are widely distributed in lactic acid bacteria, only few are fully functional, while others have lost toxicity even though they maintain high sequence identity with wild type YafQ and a likely functional antitoxin protein.
Identification and first characterization of DinJ-YafQ toxin-antitoxin systems in Lactobacillus species of biotechnological interest / Ferrari, A.; Maggi, S.; Montanini, B.; Levante, A.; Lazzi, C.; Yamaguchi, Y.; Rivetti, C.; Folli, C.. - In: SCIENTIFIC REPORTS. - ISSN 2045-2322. - 9:1(2019), p. 7645. [10.1038/s41598-019-44094-6]
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