Fatty acid profiles and desaturase-encoding genes are different in thermo- and psychrotolerant strains of the Bacillus cereus Group
Diomandé, Sara E
De Sarrau, Benoit
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Abstract Background The Bacillus cereus Group consists of closely-related bacteria, including pathogenic or harmless strains, and whose species can be positioned along the seven phylogenetic groups of Guinebretière et al. (I–VII). They exhibit different growth-temperature ranges, through thermotolerant to psychrotolerant thermotypes. Among these, B. cytotoxicus is an atypical thermotolerant and food-poisoning agent affiliated to group VII whose thermotolerance contrasts with the mesophilic and psychrotolerant thermotypes associated to the remaining groups I–VI. To understand the role of fatty acid (FA) composition in these variable thermotypes (i.e. growth behavior vs temperatures), we report specific features differentiating the FA pattern of B. cytotoxicus (group VII) from its counterparts (groups I–VI). Findings The FA pattern of thermotolerant group VII (B. cytotoxicus) displayed several specific features. Most notably, we identified a high ratio of the branched-chain FAs iso-C15/iso-C13 (i15/i13) and the absence of the unsaturated FA (UFA) C16:1(5) consistent with the absence of ∆5 desaturase DesA. Conversely, phylogenetic groups II–VI were characterized by lower i15/i13 ratios and variable proportions of C16:1(5) depending on thermotype, and presence of the DesA desaturase. In mesophilic group I, thermotype seemed to be related to an atypically high amount of C16:1(10) that may involve ∆10 desaturase DesB. Conclusion The levels of i15/i13 ratio, C16:1(5) and C16:1(10) UFAs were related to growth temperature variations recorded between thermotypes and/or phylogenetic groups. These FA are likely to play a role in membrane fluidity and may account for the differences in temperature tolerance observed in B. cereus Group strains.