, Volume 153, Issue 6, pp 607-613

The role of trehalose as a substitute for nitrogen-containing compatible solutes (Ectothiorhodospira halochloris)

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The halophilic phototrophic bacterium Ectothiorhodospira halochloris is able to synthesize both nitrogen-containing (betaine, ectoine) and nitrogen-free (trehalose) compatible solutes. In the absence of external ammonium and under nitrogen-limited growth conditions ectoine was metabolized and trehalose partly replaced betaine. The cytoplasmic trehalose concentration did not exceeded 0.5 mol/kg water (approx. 30% of total compatible solutes). A decreasing content of betaine in cells growing under nitrogen limitation is a result of decreased biosynthesis. Apparently, the betaine pool cannot be used as a nitrogen source, not even in a situation of total nitrogen depletion.