Permafrost soils are extreme environments that exert low-temperature, desiccation, and starvation stress on bacteria over thousands to millions of years. To understand how Psychrobacter arcticus 273-4 survived for >20,000 years in permafrost, transcriptome analysis was performed during growth at 22°C, 17°C, 0°C, and -6°C using a mixed-effects analysis of variance model. Genes for transcription, translation, energy production, and most biosynthetic pathways were downregulated at low temperatures. Evidence of isozyme exchange was detected over temperature for D-alanyl-D-alanine carboxypeptidases (dac1 and dac2), DEAD-box RNA helicases (csdA and Psyc-0943), and energy-efficient substrate incorporation pathways for ammonium and acetate. Specific functions were compensated by upregulation of genes at low temperature, including genes for the biosynthesis of proline, tryptophan, and methionine. RNases and peptidases were generally upregulated at low temperatures. Changes in energy metabolism, amino acid metabolism, and RNase gene expression were consistent with induction of a resource efficiency response. In contrast to results observed for other psychro- philes and mesophiles, only clpB and hsp33 were upregulated at low temperature, and there was no upregu- lation of other chaperones and peptidyl-prolyl isomerases. relA, csdA, and dac2 knockout mutants grew more slowly at low temperature, but a dac1 mutant grew more slowly at 17°C. The combined data suggest that the basal biological machinery, including translation, transcription, and energy metabolism, is well adapted to function across the growth range of P. arcticus from - 6°C to 22°C, and temperature compensation by gene expression was employed to address specific challenges to low-temperature growth.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology