Co-culture of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and yeast induces specific responses that are not observed in pure culture. Gene expression profiles of Lactobacillus paracasei ATCC 334 co-cultured with Saccharomyces cerevisiae IFO 0216 were analyzed by DNA microarray, and the responses induced by direct contact with the yeast cells were investigated. Coating the LAB cells with recombinant DnaK, which acts as an adhesive protein between LAB and yeast cells, enhanced the ratio of adhesion of the LAB cells to the yeast cells. The signals induced by direct contact were clarified by removal of the LAB cells unbound to the yeast cells. The genes induced by direct contact with heat-inactivated yeast cells were very similar to both those induced by the intact yeast cells and those induced by a soluble mannan. The top 20 genes upregulated by direct contact with the heat-inactivated yeast cells mainly encoded proteins related to exopolysaccharide synthesis, modification of surface proteins, and transport systems. In the case of the most upregulated gene, LSEI_0669, encoding a protein that has a region homologous to polyprenyl glycosylphosphotransferase, the expression level was upregulated 7.6-, 11.0-, and 8.8-fold by the heat-inactivated yeast cells, the intact yeast cells, and the soluble mannan, respectively, whereas it was only upregulated 1.8-fold when the non-adherent LAB cells were not removed before RNA extraction. Our results indicated that the LAB responded to direct contact with the yeast cells through recognition of mannan on the surface of the yeast.
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