Cheese production is a global biotechnological practice that is reliant on robust and technologically appropriate starter and adjunct starter cultures to acidify the milk and impart particular flavor and textural properties to specific cheeses. To this end, lactic acid bacteria, including Lactococcus lactis, Streptococcus thermophilus, and Lactobacillus and Leuconostoc spp., are routinely employed. However, these bacteria are susceptible to infection by (bacterio) phages. Over the past decade in particular, significant advances have been achieved in defining the receptor molecules presented by lactococcal host bacteria and in the structural analysis of corresponding phage-encoded receptor-binding proteins. These lactococcal model systems are expanding toward understanding phage-host interactions of other LAB species. Ultimately, such scientific efforts will uncover the mechanistic (dis)similarities among these phages and define how these phages recognize and infect their hosts. This review presents the current status of theLAB-phage interactome, highlighting the most recent and significant developments in this active research field. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Food Science and Technology Volume 7 is February 28, 2016. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/catalog/pubdates.aspx for revised estimates.
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