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Microb Ecol. 2010 Apr;59(3):476-86. doi: 10.1007/s00248-009-9622-9. Epub 2010 Feb 2.

Membrane vesicles: a common feature in the extracellular matter of cold-adapted antarctic bacteria.

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Laboratori de Microbiologia, Facultat de Farmacia, Universitat de Barcelona, Av. Joan XIII s/n, 08028 Barcelona, Spain.

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  • Microb Ecol. 2010 Aug;60(2):476-8.


Many Gram-negative, cold-adapted bacteria from the Antarctic environment produce large amounts of extracellular matter, which has potential biotechnology applications. We examined the ultrastructure of extracellular matter from five Antarctic bacteria (Shewanella livingstonensis NF22(T), Shewanella vesiculosa M7(T), Pseudoalteromonas sp. M4.2, Psychrobacter fozii NF23(T), and Marinobacter guineae M3B(T)) by transmission electron microscopy after high-pressure freezing and freeze substitution. All analyzed extracellular matter appeared as a netlike mesh composed of a capsular polymer around cells and large numbers of membrane vesicles (MVs), which have not yet been described for members of the genera Psychrobacter and Marinobacter. MVs showed the typical characteristics described for these structures, and seemed to be surrounded by the same capsular polymer as that found around the cells. The analysis of MV proteins from Antarctic strains by SDS-PAGE showed different banding profiles in MVs compared to the outer membrane, suggesting some kind of protein sorting during membrane vesicle formation. For the psychrotolerant bacterium, S. livingstonensis NF22(T), the growth temperature seemed to influence the amount and morphology of MVs. In an initial attempt to elucidate the functions of MVs for this psychrotolerant bacterium, we conducted a proteomic analysis on membrane vesicles from S. livingstonensis NF22(T) obtained at 4 and 18 degrees C. At both temperatures, MVs were highly enriched in outer membrane proteins and periplasmic proteins related to nutrient processing and transport in Gram-negative bacteria suggesting that MVs could be related with nutrient sensing and bacterial survival. Differences were observed in the expression of some proteins depending on incubation temperature but further studies will be necessary to define their roles and implications in the survival of bacteria in the extreme Antarctic environment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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