Probiotic potential of novel Brazilian Lactobacillus crispatus strains
Lactobacilli are the predominant bacterial species colonizing the vaginal surfaces of healthy women, where they play a protective role against opportunistic and polymicrobial infections, such as bacterial vaginosis. Several Lactobacillus species, especially L. crispatus, have been prospected for probiotic applications due to their potential antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory capacities. During the last decade, several genomic studies have been investigating the genetics of L. crispatus strains in an effort to identify novel probiotic strains and evaluate their potential for improving human and animal health. This mini review highlights the main genes associated with L. crispatus protective mechanisms in four novel strains of this species that we recently isolated from healthy Brazilian women of reproductive age. Among the probiotic features of these strains, the roles of a pyruvate oxidase-encoding gene, lactate synthesis related enzymes, bacteriocin genes, and genomic islands, are reviewed, and the next steps for confirming their activity are indicated.