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ISME J. 2013 Sep;7(9):1790-802. doi: 10.1038/ismej.2013.60. Epub 2013 Apr 11.

Characterization of NaCl tolerance in Desulfovibrio vulgaris Hildenborough through experimental evolution.

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Institute for Environmental Genomics, Department of Microbiology and Plant Biology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019, USA.


Desulfovibrio vulgaris Hildenborough strains with significantly increased tolerance to NaCl were obtained via experimental evolution. A NaCl-evolved strain, ES9-11, isolated from a population cultured for 1200 generations in medium amended with 100 mM NaCl, showed better tolerance to NaCl than a control strain, EC3-10, cultured for 1200 generations in parallel but without NaCl amendment in medium. To understand the NaCl adaptation mechanism in ES9-11, we analyzed the transcriptional, metabolite and phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) profiles of strain ES9-11 with 0, 100- or 250 mM-added NaCl in medium compared with the ancestral strain and EC3-10 as controls. In all the culture conditions, increased expressions of genes involved in amino-acid synthesis and transport, energy production, cation efflux and decreased expression of flagellar assembly genes were detected in ES9-11. Consistently, increased abundances of organic solutes and decreased cell motility were observed in ES9-11. Glutamate appears to be the most important osmoprotectant in D. vulgaris under NaCl stress, whereas, other organic solutes such as glutamine, glycine and glycine betaine might contribute to NaCl tolerance under low NaCl concentration only. Unsaturation indices of PLFA significantly increased in ES9-11. Branched unsaturated PLFAs i17:1 ω9c, a17:1 ω9c and branched saturated i15:0 might have important roles in maintaining proper membrane fluidity under NaCl stress. Taken together, these data suggest that the accumulation of osmolytes, increased membrane fluidity, decreased cell motility and possibly an increased exclusion of Na(+) contribute to increased NaCl tolerance in NaCl-evolved D. vulgaris.

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