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Extremophiles. 2002 Jun;6(3):217-23. Epub 2002 Feb 1.

Amino acid composition of bulk protein and salt relationships of selected enzymes of Salinibacter ruber, an extremely halophilic bacterium.

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  • 1Division of Microbial and Molecular Ecology, Institute of Life Sciences, and The Moshe Shilo Minerva Center for Marine Biogeochemistry, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 91904 Jerusalem, Israel.


The extremely halophilic bacterium Salinibacter ruber was previously shown to have a high intracellular potassium content, comparable to that of halophilic Archaea of the family Halobacteriaceae. The amino acid composition of its bulk protein showed a high content of acidic amino acids, a low abundance of basic amino acids, a low content of hydrophobic amino acids, and a high abundance of serine. We tested the level of four cytoplasmic enzymatic activities at different KCl and NaCl concentrations. Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD)-dependent isocitrate dehydrogenase functioned optimally at 0.5-2 M KCl, with rates of 60% of the optimum value at 3.3 M. NaCl provided less activation: 70% of the optimum rates in KCl were found at 0.2-1.2 M NaCl, and above 3 M NaCl, activity was low. We also detected nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP)-dependent isocitrate activity, which remained approximately constant between 0-3.2 M NaCl and increased with increasing KCl concentration. NAD-dependent malate dehydrogenase functioned best in the absence of salt, but rates as high as 25% of the optimal values were measured in 3-3.5 M KCl or NaCl. NAD-dependent glutamate dehydrogenase, assayed by the reductive amination of 2-oxoglutarate, showed low activity in the absence of salt. NaCl was stimulatory with optimum activity at 3-3.5 M. However, no activity was found above 2.5 M KCl. Although the four activities examined all function at high salt concentrations, the behavior of individual enzymes toward salt varied considerably. The results presented show that Salinibacter enzymes are adapted to function in the presence of high salt concentrations.

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