Consensus pan-genome assembly of the specialised wine bacterium Oenococcus oeni.BMC Genomics. 2016 Apr 27; 17:308.BG
Oenococcus oeni is a lactic acid bacterium that is specialised for growth in the ecological niche of wine, where it is noted for its ability to perform the secondary, malolactic fermentation that is often required for many types of wine. Expanding the understanding of strain-dependent genetic variations in its small and streamlined genome is important for realising its full potential in industrial fermentation processes.
Whole genome comparison was performed on 191 strains of O. oeni; from this rich source of genomic information consensus pan-genome assemblies of the invariant (core) and variable (flexible) regions of this organism were established. Genetic variation in amino acid biosynthesis and sugar transport and utilisation was found to be common between strains. Furthermore, we characterised previously-unreported intra-specific genetic variations in the natural competence of this microbe.
By assembling a consensus pan-genome from a large number of strains, this study provides a tool for researchers to readily compare protein-coding genes across strains and infer functional relationships between genes in conserved syntenic regions. This establishes a foundation for further genetic, and thus phenotypic, research of this industrially-important species.