Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are widely used as starter cultures in the manufacture of foods. Upon preparation, these cultures undergo various stresses resulting in losses of survival and fitness. In order to find conditions for the subsequent identification of proteomic biomarkers and their exploitation for preconditioning of strains, we subjected Lactobacillus (Lb.) paracasei subsp. paracasei TMW 1.1434 (F19) to different stress qualities (osmotic stress, oxidative stress, temperature stress, pH stress and starvation stress). We analysed the dynamics of its stress responses based on the expression of stress proteins using MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry (MS), which has so far been used for species identification. Exploiting the methodology of accumulating protein expression profiles by MALDI-TOF MS followed by the statistical evaluation with cluster analysis and discriminant analysis of principle components (DAPC), it was possible to monitor the expression of low molecular weight stress proteins, identify a specific time point when the expression of stress proteins reached its maximum, and statistically differentiate types of adaptive responses into groups. Above the specific result for F19 and its stress response, these results demonstrate the discriminatory power of MALDI-TOF MS to characterize even dynamics of stress responses of bacteria and enable a knowledge-based focus on the laborious identification of biomarkers and stress proteins. To our knowledge, the implementation of MALDI-TOF MS protein profiling for the fast and comprehensive analysis of various stress responses is new to the field of bacterial stress responses. Consequently, we generally propose MALDI-TOF MS as an easy and quick method to characterize responses of microbes to different environmental conditions, to focus efforts of more elaborate approaches on time points and dynamics of stress responses.
Journal: PloS one