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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

New type of osmoregulated solute transporter identified in halophilic members of the bacteria domain: TRAP transporter TeaABC mediates uptake of ectoine and hydroxyectoine in Halomonas elongata DSM 2581(T).

The halophilic bacterium Halomonas elongata synthesizes as its main compatible solute the aspartate derivative ectoine. We constructed a deletion mutant of H. elongata, KB1, defective in ectoine synthesis and tolerating elevated salt concentrations only in the presence of external compatible solutes. The dependency of KB1 on solute uptake for growth in high-salt medium was exploited to select insertion mutants unable to accumulate external solutes via osmoregulated transporters. One insertion mutant out of 7,200 failed to accumulate the osmoprotectants ectoine and hydroxyectoine. Genetic analysis of the insertion site proved that the mutation affected an open reading frame (ORF) of 1,281 bp (teaC). The nucleotide sequence upstream of teaC was determined, and two further ORFs of 603 bp (teaB) and 1,023 bp (teaA) were identified. Deletion of teaA and teaB proved that all three genes are mandatory for ectoine uptake. Sequence comparison showed significant identity of TeaA, TeaB, and TeaC to the transport proteins of the recently identified tripartite ATP-independent periplasmic transporter family (TRAP-T). The affinity of the cells for ectoines was determined (K(s) = 21.7 microM), suggesting that the transporter TeaABC exhibits high affinity for ectoines. An elevation of the external osmolarity resulted in a strong increase in ectoine uptake via TeaABC, demonstrating that this transporter is osmoregulated. Deletion of teaC and teaBC in the wild-type strain led to mutants which excreted significant amounts of ectoine into the medium when cultivated at high salt concentrations. Therefore, the physiological role of TeaABC may be primarily to recover ectoine leaking through the cytoplasmic membrane.[1]


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