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Genetic Adaptation to Salt Stress in Experimental Evolution of Desulfovibrio vulgaris Hildenborough

Abstract

High salinity is one of the most common environmental stressors. In order to understand how environmental organisms adapt to salty environment, an experiment evolution with sulfate reducing bacteria Desulfovibrio vugaris Hildenborough was conducted. Control lines and salt-stressed lines (6 lines each) grown in minimal medium LS4D or LS4D + 100 mM NaCl were transferred for 1200 generations. The salt tolerance was tested with LS4D supplemented with 250 mM NaCl. Statistical analysis of the growth data suggested that all lines adapted to their evolutionary environment. In addition, the control lines performed better than the ancestor with faster growth rate, higher biomass yield and shorter lag phase under salty environment they did not evolve in. However, the salt-adapted lines performed better than the control lines on measures of growth rate and yield under salty environment, suggesting that the salt?evolved lines acquired mutations specific to having extra salt in LS4D. Growth data and gene transcription data suggested that populations tended to improve till 1000 generations and active mutations tended to be fixed at the stage of 1000 generations. Point mutations and insertion/deletions were identified in isolated colonies from salt-adapted and control lines via whole genome sequencing. Glu, Gln and Ala appears to be the major osmoprotectant in evolved salt-stressed line. Ongoing studies are now characterizing the contribution of specific mutations identified in the salt-evolved D. vulgaris.

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