The Genome of Pseudomonas fluorescens Strain R124 Demonstrates Phenotypic Adaptation to the Mineral Environment Public Deposited

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  • Microbial adaptation to environmental conditions is a complex process, including acquisition of positive traits through horizontal gene transfer or the modification of existing genes through duplication and/or mutation. In this study, we examined the adaptation of a Pseudomonas fluorescens isolate (R124) from the nutrient-limited mineral environment of a silica cave in comparison with P. fluorescens isolates from surface soil and the rhizosphere. Examination of metal homeostasis gene pathways demonstrated a high degree of conservation, suggesting that such systems remain functionally similar across chemical environments. The examination of genomic islands unique to our strain revealed the presence of genes involved in carbohydrate metabolism, aromatic carbon metabolism, and carbon turnover, confirmed through phenotypic assays, suggesting the acquisition of potentially novel mechanisms for energy metabolism in this strain. We also identified a twitching motility phenotype active at low-nutrient concentrations that may allow alternative exploratory mechanisms for this organism in a geochemical environment. Two sets of candidate twitching motility genes are present within the genome, one on the chromosome and one on a plasmid; however, a plasmid knockout identified the functional gene as being present on the chromosome. This work highlights the plasticity of the Pseudomonas genome, allowing the acquisition of novel nutrient-scavenging pathways across diverse geochemical environments while maintaining a core of functional stress response genes.
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  • Barton, M. D., Petronio, M., Giarrizzo, J. G., Bowling, B. V., & Barton, H. A. (2013). The genome of pseudomonas fluorescens strain R124 demonstrates phenotypic adaptation to the mineral environment. Journal of Bacteriology, 195(21), 4793. doi: 10.1128/JB.00825-13
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