Protein sequences insight into heavy metal tolerance in Cronobacter sakazakii BAA-894 encoded by plasmid pESA3
The recently annotated genome of the bacterium Cronobacter sakazakii BAA-894 suggests that the organism has the ability to bind heavy metals. This study demonstrates heavy metal tolerance in C. sakazakii, in which proteins with the heavy metal interaction were recognized by computational and experimental study. As the result, approximately one-fourth of proteins encoded on the plasmid pESA3 are proposed to have potential interaction with heavy metals. Interaction between heavy metals and predicted proteins was further corroborated using protein crystal structures from protein data bank database and comparison of metal-binding ligands. In addition, a phylogenetic study was undertaken for the toxic heavy metals, arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury, which generated relatedness clustering for lead, cadmium and arsenic. Laboratory studies confirmed the organism’s tolerance to tellurite, copper and silver. These experimental and computational study data extend our understanding of the genes encoding for proteins of this important neonatal pathogen and provide further insights into the genotypes associated with features that can contribute to its persistence in the environment. The information will be of value for future environmental protection from heavy toxic metals.