Abstract: Sulfolobus solfataricus is a thermoacidophilic member of the archaea whose envelope consists of an ether-linked lipid monolayer surrounded by a protein S-layer. Protein translocation across this envelope must accommodate a steep proton gradient that is subject to temperature extremes. To better understand this process in vivo, studies were conducted on the S. solfataricus glycosyl hydrolyase family 57 α-Amylase (AmyA). Cell lines harboring site specific modifications of the amyA promoter and AmyA structural domains were created by gene replacement using markerless exchange and characterized by Western blot, enzyme assay and culture-based analysis. Fusion of amyA to the malAp promoter overcame amyAp-mediated regulatory responses to media composition including glucose and amino acid repression implicating action act at the level of transcription. Deletion of the AmyA Class II N-terminal signal peptide blocked protein secretion and intracellular protein accumulation. Deletion analysis of a conserved bipartite C-terminal motif consisting of a hydrophobic region followed by several charged residues indicated the charged residues played an essential role in membrane-association but not protein secretion. Mutants lacking the C-terminal bipartite motif exhibited reduced growth rates on starch as the sole carbon and energy source; therefore, association of AmyA with the membrane improves carbohydrate utilization. Widespread occurrence of this motif in other secreted proteins of S. solfataricus and of related Crenarchaeota suggests protein association with membranes is a general trait used by these organisms to influence external processes.
Abstract: The prophage-encoded staphylococcal enterotoxin A (SEA) is recognized as the main cause of staphylococcal food poisoning (SFP), a common foodborne intoxication disease, caused by Staphylococcus aureus. Studies on the production of SEA suggest that activation of the SOS response and subsequent prophage induction affect the regulation of the sea gene and the SEA produced, increasing the risk for SFP. The present study aims to evaluate the effect of NaCl and sorbic acid, in concentrations relevant to food production, on SOS response activation, prophage induction and SEA production. The impact of stress was initially evaluated on steady state cells for a homogenous cell response. NaCl 2% was found to activate the SOS response, i.e., recA expression, and trigger prophage induction, in a similar way as the phage-inducer mitomycin C. In contrast, sorbic acid decreased the pH of the culture to a level where prophage induction was probably suppressed, even when combined with NaCl stress. The impact of previous physiological state of the bacteria was also addressed on cells pre-exposed to NaCl, and was found to potentially affect cell response upon exposure to further stress. The results obtained highlight the possible SFP-related risks arising from the use of preservatives during food processing.
Abstract: The aim of the present study was to examine the effect of lemongrass essential oil vapors on the dynamics of surface microbiota and L. monocytogenes growth on rocket and melon under different packaging conditions and storage temperature. For that purpose, rocket and melon were placed on Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) trays, sprayed with L. monocytogenes to a population of 4.5–5.0 log CFU·g−1, packaged using microperforated Oriented Polypropylene (OPP) film in either air or Microperforated Active Modified Atmosphere (MAMA) (initial atmosphere 5% O2, 10% CO2) including a Whatman paper containing the essential oil, without contact with the product, and stored at 0, 5, 10, and 15 °C. Application of lemongrass exhibited a bactericidal effect on enterococci and a fungistatic effect on yeast-mould populations but only during air storage of rocket. The former took place at all temperatures and the latter only at 10 and 15 °C. No effect on shelf life of both products was recorded. However, an important effect on the sensorial properties was observed; during the first 4–5 days of storage both products were organoleptically unacceptable. Regarding MAMA packaging, it affected only Pseudomonas spp. population resulting in a reduction of 1–2 log CFU·g−1 in both products.
Abstract: The terrestrial permafrost represents a range of possible cryogenic extraterrestrial ecosystems on Earth-like planets without obvious surface ice, such as Mars. The autotrophic and chemolithotrophic psychrotolerant methanogens are more likely than aerobes to function as a model for life forms that may exist in frozen subsurface environments on Mars, which has no free oxygen, inaccessible organic matter, and extremely low amounts of unfrozen water. Our research on the genesis of methane, its content and distribution in permafrost horizons of different ages and origin demonstrated the presence of methane in permanently frozen fine-grained sediments. Earlier, we isolated and described four strains of methanogenic archaea of Methanobacterium and Methanosarcina genera from samples of Pliocene and Holocene permafrost from Eastern Siberia. In this paper we study the effect of sodium and magnesium perchlorates on growth of permafrost and nonpermafrost methanogens, and present evidence that permafrost hydogenotrophic methanogens are more resistant to the chaotropic agent found in Martian soil. In this paper we study the effect of sodium and magnesium perchlorates on the growth of permafrost and nonpermafrost methanogens, and present evidence that permafrost hydogenotrophic methanogens are more resistant to the chaotropic agent found in Martian soil. Furthermore, as shown in the studies strain M2TM. arcticum, probably can use perchlorate anion as an electron acceptor in anaerobic methane oxidation. Earth’s subzero subsurface environments are the best approximation of environments on Mars, which is most likely to harbor methanogens; thus, a biochemical understanding of these pathways is expected to provide a basis for designing experiments to detect autotrophic methane-producing life forms on Mars.
Abstract: Microbial communities inhabiting the deep-sea salt-saturated anoxic lakes of the Eastern Mediterranean operate under harsh physical-chemical conditions that are incompatible with the lifestyle of common marine microorganisms. Here, we investigated a stable three-component microbial consortium obtained from the brine of the recently discovered deep-sea salt-saturated Lake Thetis. The trophic network of this consortium, established at salinities up to 240, relies on fermentative decomposition of common osmoprotectant glycine betaine (GB). Similarly to known extreme halophilic anaerobic GB-degrading enrichments, the initial step of GB degradation starts with its reductive cleavage to trimethylamine and acetate, carried out by the fermenting member of the Thetis enrichment, Halobacteroides lacunaris TB21. In contrast to acetate, which cannot be easily oxidized in salt-saturated anoxic environments, trimethylamine represents an advantageous C1-substrate for methylotrophic methanogenic member of the Thetis enrichment, Methanohalophilus sp. TA21. This second member of the consortium likely produces hydrogen via methylotrophic modification of reductive acetyl-CoA pathway because the initial anaerobic GB cleavage reaction requires the consumption of reducing equivalents. Ecophysiological role of the third member of the Thetis consortium, Halanaerobium sp. TB24, which lacks the capability of either GB or trimethylamine degradation, remains yet to be elucidated. As it is true for cultivated members of family Halanaerobiaceae, the isolate TB24 can obtain energy primarily by fermenting simple sugars and producing hydrogen as one of the end products. Hence, by consuming of TB21 and TA21 metabolites, Halanaerobium sp. TB24 can be an additional provider of reducing equivalents required for reductive degradation of GB. Description of the Thetis GB-degrading consortium indicated that anaerobic degradation of osmoregulatory molecules may play important role in the overall turnover of organic carbon in anoxic hypersaline biotopes.
Abstract: Terrestrial methane seeps and rice paddy fields are important ecosystems in the methane cycle. Methanotrophic bacteria in these ecosystems play a key role in reducing methane emission into the atmosphere. Here, we describe three novel methanotrophs, designated BRS-K6, GFS-K6 and AK-K6, which were recovered from three different habitats in contrasting geographic regions and ecosystems: waterlogged rice-field soil and methane seep pond sediments from Bangladesh; and warm spring sediments from Armenia. All isolates had a temperature range for growth of 8–35 °C (optimal 25–28 °C) and a pH range of 5.0–7.5 (optimal 6.4–7.0). 16S rRNA gene sequences showed that they were new gammaproteobacterial methanotrophs, which form a separate clade in the family Methylococcaceae. They fell into a cluster with thermotolerant and mesophilic growth tendency, comprising the genera Methylocaldum-Methylococcus-Methyloparacoccus-Methylogaea. So far, growth below 15 °C of methanotrophs from this cluster has not been reported. The strains possessed type I intracytoplasmic membranes. The genes pmoA, mxaF, cbbL, nifH were detected, but no mmoX gene was found. Each strain probably represents a novel species either belonging to the same novel genus or each may even represent separate genera. These isolates extend our knowledge of methanotrophic Gammaproteobacteria and their physiology and adaptation to different ecosystems.