Enhancement of Stress Tolerance in the Polyhydroxyalkanoate Producers without Mobilization of the Accumulated Granules
Poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) [P(3HB)], a polymer belonging to the polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) family, is accumulated by numerous bacteria as carbon and energy storage material. The mobilization of accumulated P(3HB) is associated with increased stress and starvation tolerance. However, the potential function of accumulated copolymer such as poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) [P(3HB-co-3HV)] remained unknown. In this study, Delftia acidovorans DS 17 was used to evaluate the contributions of P(3HB) and P(3HBco- 3HV) granules during simulated exogenous carbon deprivation on cell survival by transferring cells with PHAs to carbon-free mineral salt medium supplemented with 1 % (w/v) nitrogen source. By mobilizing the intracellular P(3HB) and P(3HB-co-3HV) at 11 and 40 mol% 3HV compositions, the cells survived starvation. Surprisingly, D. acidovorans containing P(3HB-co-94 mol% 3HV) also survived although the mobilization was not as effective. Similarly, recombinant Escherichia coli pGEM-T::phbCABCn (harboring the PHA biosynthesis genes of Cupriavidus necator) containing P(3HB) granules had a higher viable cell counts compared to those without P(3HB) granules but without any P(3HB) mobilization when exposed to oxidative stress by photoactivated titanium dioxide. This study provided strong evidence that enhancement of stress tolerance in PHA producers can be achieved without mobilization of the previously accumulated granules. Instead, PHA biosynthesis may improve bacterial survival via multiple mechanisms.
Goh, L.-K., R.K. Purama, K. Sudesh. (2013) Appl. Biochem. Biotechnol. (Article in Press)