Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Genomics and BioMed Central.

Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Complete genome sequence of Corynebacterium variabile DSM 44702 isolated from the surface of smear-ripened cheeses and insights into cheese ripening and flavor generation

Jasmin Schröder1, Irena Maus1, Eva Trost12 and Andreas Tauch1*

Author Affiliations

1 Institut für Genomforschung und Systembiologie, Centrum für Biotechnologie, Universität Bielefeld, Universitätsstraße 27, D-33615 Bielefeld, Germany

2 CLIB Graduate Cluster Industrial Biotechnology, Centrum für Biotechnologie, Universität Bielefeld, Universitätsstraße 27, D-33615 Bielefeld, Germany

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Genomics 2011, 12:545  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-12-545

Published: 3 November 2011

Abstract

Background

Corynebacterium variabile is part of the complex microflora on the surface of smear-ripened cheeses and contributes to the development of flavor and textural properties during cheese ripening. Still little is known about the metabolic processes and microbial interactions during the production of smear-ripened cheeses. Therefore, the gene repertoire contributing to the lifestyle of the cheese isolate C. variabile DSM 44702 was deduced from the complete genome sequence to get a better understanding of this industrial process.

Results

The chromosome of C. variabile DSM 44702 is composed of 3, 433, 007 bp and contains 3, 071 protein-coding regions. A comparative analysis of this gene repertoire with that of other corynebacteria detected 1, 534 predicted genes to be specific for the cheese isolate. These genes might contribute to distinct metabolic capabilities of C. variabile, as several of them are associated with metabolic functions in cheese habitats by playing roles in the utilization of alternative carbon and sulphur sources, in amino acid metabolism, and fatty acid degradation. Relevant C. variabile genes confer the capability to catabolize gluconate, lactate, propionate, taurine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid and to utilize external caseins. In addition, C. variabile is equipped with several siderophore biosynthesis gene clusters for iron acquisition and an exceptional repertoire of AraC-regulated iron uptake systems. Moreover, C. variabile can produce acetoin, butanediol, and methanethiol, which are important flavor compounds in smear-ripened cheeses.

Conclusions

The genome sequence of C. variabile provides detailed insights into the distinct metabolic features of this bacterium, implying a strong adaption to the iron-depleted cheese surface habitat. By combining in silico data obtained from the genome annotation with previous experimental knowledge, occasional observations on genes that are involved in the complex metabolic capacity of C. variabile were integrated into a global view on the lifestyle of this species.