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Institute/Center: Instituto de Productos Lácteos de Asturias (IPLA-CSIC)

Author: Clara Roces, Udo Wegmann, Ana B. Campelo, Pilar García, Ana Rodríguez y Beatriz Martínez

Transmission electron micrograph taken at the Institute of Food Research (Norwich, UK). Reference: PhD Thesis by Clara Roces (IPLA-CSIC; University of Oviedo, 2013) funded by a JAEpredoc-CSIC fellowship. Lactococcus lactis is a Gram positive bacteria used worldwide as starter in cheese production. L. lactis is responsible for the acidification of milk during clotting. This process may be slowed down or even halted due to the presence of bacteriophages or phages, viruses that exclusively infect bacteria. During phage infection, proteins able to hydrolyze the bacterial cell wall are synthesized to release the phage progeny. In the frame of the research project “Molecular mechanism involved in the response of L. lactis to cell envelope stress, BIO2007-65061, funded by the Spanish Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad, we have identified L. lactis genes that inhibit cell lysis after phage infection. These genes might be exploited to select strains resistant to phages and contribute to reduce the economic losses linked to food fermentation failures.

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Lysis of Lactococcus lactis infected by the bacteriophage TP712.