Rhodococcus sp. RB1 grows in the presence of high nitrate and nitrite concentrations and assimilates nitrate in moderately saline environments
Rhodococcus sp. RB1 was able to thrive in media with up to 0.9 M NaCl or KCl and in the presence of high concentrations of nitrate (up to 0.9 M) and nitrite (up to 60 mM), but only under oxic conditions. An adaptation period was not required for salt tolerance, but a rapid extrusion of K+ and intake of Na+ was observed after addition of 0.5 M NaCl. Nitrate assimilation was limited by the carbon supply, but nitrite was not accumulated in the culture medium, even at nitrate concentrations as high as 0.8 M, thus suggesting that nitrite reduction does not limit nitrate assimilation. The presence of NaCl or KCl did not affect nitrate or nitrite uptake, which were completely inhibited by ammonium or glutamine. Rhodococcus sp. RB1 nitrate reductase had an apparent molecular mass of 142 kDa and used NADH and reduced bromophenol blue or viologens as electron donors, independently of the presence of salt. The enzyme was associated with an NADH-diaphorase activity and was induced by nitrate and repressed by ammonium or glutamine, thus showing typical biochemical and regulatory properties of bacterial assimilatory NADH-nitrate reductases. The enzyme was active in vitro in the presence of 3 M NaCl or KCl, but the maximal activity was observed at 0.5 M salt. Addition of 2 M NaCl increased the optimal temperature of the enzyme from 12 to 32 °C, but the optimal pH (10.3) was unaffected.
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