A Unique Pool of Compatible Solutes on Rhodopirellula baltica, Member of the Deep-Branching Phylum Planctomycetes

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The intracellular accumulation of small organic solutes was described in the marine bacterium Rhodopirellula baltica, which belongs to the globally distributed phylum Planctomycetes whose members exhibit an intriguing lifestyle and cell morphology. Sucrose, alpha-glutamate, trehalose and mannosylglucosylglycerate (MGG) are the main solutes involved in the osmoadaptation of R. baltica. The ratio and total intracellular organic solutes varied significantly in response to an increase in salinity, temperature and nitrogen content. R. baltica displayed an initial response to both osmotic and thermal stresses that includes alpha-glutamate accumulation. This trend was followed by a rather unique and complex osmoadaptation mechanism characterized by a dual response to sub-optimal and supra-optimal salinities. A reduction in the salinity to suboptimal conditions led primarily to the accumulation of trehalose. In contrast, R. baltica responded to salt stress mostly by increasing the intracellular levels of sucrose. The switch between the accumulation of trehalose and sucrose was by far the most significant effect caused by increasing the salt levels of the medium. Additionally, MGG accumulation was found to be salt- as well as nitrogen-dependent. MGG accumulation was regulated by nitrogen levels replacing alpha-glutamate as a K+ counterion in nitrogen-poor environments. This is the first report of the accumulation of compatible solutes in the phylum Planctomycetes and of the MGG accumulation in a mesophilic organism.
Original languageUnknown
Pages (from-to)Online
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013

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