PCR-based screening, isolation, and partial characterization of motile lactobacilli from various animal feces

Shunya Suzuki, Koki Fujita, Shintaro Maeno, Yuh Shiwa, Akihito Endo, Kenji Yokota, Shizunobu Igimi, Akinobu Kajikawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Most lactobacilli found in animal intestines are generally non-motile, but there are few exceptions. Our previous work showed that Lactobacillus agilis BKN88, which is a highly motile strain originating from a chicken, takes advantage of motility in gut colonization in murine models, and thus motile lactobacilli likely have unique ecological characteristics conferred by motility. However, the ecology and habitat of gut-derived motile lactobacilli are still rarely understood. In addition, the limited availability of motile Lactobacillus isolates is one of the major obstacles for further studies. To gain insight into the ecology and habitat of the motile lactobacilli, we established a routinely applicable detection method for motile lactobacilli using PCR and subsequent selective isolation in semi-solid MRS medium for the collection of additional motile lactobacilli from animal feces. Results: We applied the PCR detection using motile lactobacilli-specific primers, based on the motor switch protein gene (fliG) of flagella, to 120 animal feces, followed by selective isolation performed using 45 animal feces. As a result, motile lactobacilli were detected in 44 animal feces. In the selective isolation, 29 isolates of L. agilis and 2 isolates of L. ruminis were obtained from 8 animal species. Conclusions: These results indicated that motile lactobacilli are distributed in different animal species. Moreover, phylogenetic analysis of the L. agilis isolates suggests co-evolution with the host, and adaptation to a particular environmental niche.

Original languageEnglish
Article number142
JournalBMC Microbiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 3 2020
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)


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