Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Vol.105, No.19, 7463-7473, 2021
Combination of osmotic stress and sugar stress response mechanisms is essential for Gluconacetobacter diazotrophicus tolerance to high-sucrose environments
Sugar-rich environments represent an important challenge for microorganisms. The osmotic and molecular imbalances resulting from this condition severely limit microbial metabolism and growth. Gluconacetobacter diazotrophicus is one of the most sugar-tolerant prokaryotes, able to grow in the presence of sucrose concentrations up to 30%. However, the mechanisms that control its tolerance to such conditions remain poorly exploited. The present work investigated the key mechanisms of tolerance to high sugar in G. diazotrophicus. Comparative proteomics was applied to investigate the main functional pathways regulated in G. diazotrophicus when cultivated in the presence of high sucrose. Among 191 proteins regulated by high sucrose, regulatory pathways related to sugar metabolism, nutrient uptake, compatible solute synthesis, amino acid metabolism, and proteolytic system were highlighted. The role of these pathways on high-sucrose tolerance was investigated by mutagenesis analysis, which revealed that the knockout mutants zwf::Tn5 (sugar metabolism), tbdr::Tn5 (nutrient uptake), mtlK::Tn5 (compatible solute synthesis), pepN::Tn5 (proteolytic system), metH::Tn5 (amino acid metabolism), and ilvD::Tn5 (amino acid metabolism) became more sensitive to high sucrose. Together, our results identified mechanisms involved in response to high sugar in G. diazotrophicus, shedding light on the combination of osmotolerance and sugar-tolerance mechanisms.