Unravelling the adaptation responses to osmotic and temperature stress in Chromohalobacter salexigens, a bacterium with broad salinity tolerance
Springer Science and Business Media LLC -- Saline Systems
DOI 10.1186/1746-1448-4-14

Chromohalobacter salexigens, a Gammaproteobacterium belonging to the family Halomonadaceae, shows a broad salinity range for growth. Osmoprotection is achieved by the accumulation of compatible solutes either by transport (betaine, choline) or synthesis (mainly ectoine and hydroxyectoine). Ectoines can play additional roles as nutrients and, in the case of hydroxyectoine, in thermotolerance. A supplementary solute, trehalose, not present in cells grown at 37°C, is accumulated at higher temperatures, suggesting its involvement in the response to heat stress. Trehalose is also accumulated at 37°C in ectoine-deficient mutants, indicating that ectoines suppress trehalose synthesis in the wild-type strain. The genes for ectoine (ectABC) and hydroxyectoine (ectD, ectE) production are arranged in three different clusters within the C. salexigens chromosome. In order to cope with changing environment, C. salexigens regulates its cytoplasmic pool of ectoines by a number of mechanisms that we have started to elucidate. This is a highly complex process because (i) hydroxyectoine can be synthesized by other enzymes different to EctD (ii) ectoines can be catabolized to serve as nutrients, (iii) the involvement of several transcriptional regulators (σS, σ32, Fur, EctR) and hence different signal transduction pathways, and (iv) the existence of post-trancriptional control mechanisms. In this review we summarize our present knowledge on the physiology and genetics of the processes allowing C. salexigens to cope with osmotic stress and high temperature, with emphasis on the transcriptional regulation.