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J Bacteriol. 2005 Feb;187(4):1293-304.

Ectoine-induced proteins in Sinorhizobium meliloti include an Ectoine ABC-type transporter involved in osmoprotection and ectoine catabolism.

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  • 1Université de Rennes I, UMR-CNRS 6026, Département Osmorégulation chez les Bactéries, Campus de Beaulieu, Av. du Général Leclerc, 35042 Rennes, France.


To understand the mechanisms of ectoine-induced osmoprotection in Sinorhizobium meliloti, a proteomic examination of S. meliloti cells grown in minimal medium supplemented with ectoine was undertaken. This revealed the induction of 10 proteins. The protein products of eight genes were identified by using matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Five of these genes, with four other genes whose products were not detected on two-dimensional gels, belong to the same gene cluster, which is localized on the pSymB megaplasmid. Four of the nine genes encode the characteristic components of an ATP-binding cassette transporter that was named ehu, for ectoine/hydroxyectoine uptake. This transporter was encoded by four genes (ehuA, ehuB, ehuC, and ehuD) that formed an operon with another gene cluster that contains five genes, named eutABCDE for ectoine utilization. On the basis of sequence homologies, eutABCDE encode enzymes with putative and hypothetical functions in ectoine catabolism. Analysis of the properties of ehuA and eutA mutants suggests that S. meliloti possesses at least one additional ectoine catabolic pathway as well as a lower-affinity transport system for ectoine and hydroxyectoine. The expression of ehuB, as determined by measurements of UidA activity, was shown to be induced by ectoine and hydroxyectoine but not by glycine betaine or by high osmolality.

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