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Front. Microbiol. | doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.00335

Beyond chloride brines: Variable metabolomic responses in the anaerobic organism, Yersinia intermedia MASE-LG-1, to NaCl and MgSO4 at identical water activity

 Petra Schwendner1*,  Maria Bohmeier2,  Petra Rettberg2,  Kristina Beblo-Vranesevic2, Frédéric Gaboyer3,  Christine Moissl-Eichinger4,  Alexandra K. Perras4, Pauline Vannier5,  Viggó T. Marteinsson5, Laura Garcia-Descalzo6,  Felipe Gómez Gómez6, Moustafa Malki7,  Ricardo Amils7, Frances Westall3, Andreas Riedo8,  Euan P. Monaghan8, Pascale Ehrenfreund8,  Patricia Cabezas9, Nicolas Walter9 and  Charles Cockell1
  • 1UK Center for Astrobiology, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • 2Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), Germany
  • 3Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), France
  • 4Medical University of Graz, Austria
  • 5Matís (Iceland), Iceland
  • 6Centro de Astrobiología (CSIC), Spain
  • 7Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain
  • 8Leiden University, Netherlands
  • 9European Science Foundation, France

Growth in sodium chloride (NaCl) is known to induce stress in non-halophilic microorganisms leading to effects on the microbial metabolism and cell structure. Microorganisms have evolved a number of adaptations, both structural and metabolic, to counteract osmotic stress. These strategies are well-understood for organisms in NaCl-rich brines such as the accumulation of certain organic solutes (known as either compatible solutes or osmolytes). Less well studied are responses to ionic environments such as sulfate-rich brines which are prevalent on Earth but can also be found on Mars. In this paper, we investigated the global metabolic response of the anaerobic bacterium Yersinia intermedia MASE-LG-1 to osmotic salt stress induced by either magnesium sulfate (MgSO4) or NaCl at the same water activity (0.975). Using a non-targeted mass spectrometry approach, the intensity of hundreds of metabolites was measured. The compatible solutes L-asparagine and sucrose were found to be increased in both MgSO4 and NaCl compared to the control sample, suggesting a similar osmotic response to different ionic environments. We were able to demonstrate that Yersinia intermedia MASE-LG-1 accumulated a range of other compatible solutes. However, we also found the global metabolic responses, especially with regard to amino acid metabolism and carbohydrate metabolism, to be salt-specific, thus, suggesting ion-specific regulation of specific metabolic pathways.

Keywords: Sodium Chloride, Magnesium Sulfate, Metabolome, compatible solutes, stress response.

Received: 03 Oct 2017; Accepted: 12 Feb 2018.

Edited by:

Frank Schreiber, Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und prüfung (BAM), Germany

Reviewed by:

Miguel A. Aon, National Institute on Aging (NIH), United States
Simon M. Dittami, Station Biologique de Roscoff, France  

Copyright: © 2018 Schwendner, Bohmeier, Rettberg, Beblo-Vranesevic, Gaboyer, Moissl-Eichinger, Perras, Vannier, Marteinsson, Garcia-Descalzo, Gómez Gómez, Malki, Amils, Westall, Riedo, Monaghan, Ehrenfreund, Cabezas, Walter and Cockell. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Petra Schwendner, University of Edinburgh, UK Center for Astrobiology, Edinburgh, United Kingdom,