Publication details.


Author(s):L. Weinisch, I. Kirchner, M. Grimm, S. Kühner, A. Pierik, R. Rosselló-Móra, S. Filker
Title:Glycine Betaine and Ectoine Are the Major Compatible Solutes Used by Four Different Halophilic Heterotrophic Ciliates
Issue No.:2
Abstract:© 2018, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature. One decisive factor controlling the distribution of organisms in their natural habitats is the cellular response to environmental factors. Compared to prokaryotes, our knowledge about salt adaptation strategies of microbial eukaryotes is very limited. We, here, used a recently introduced approach (implementing proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy) to investigate the presence of compatible solutes in halophilic, heterotrophic ciliates. Therefore, we isolated four ciliates from solar salterns, which were identified as Cyclidium glaucoma, Euplotes sp., Fabrea salina, and Pseudocohnilembus persalinus based on their 18S rRNA gene signatures and electron microscopy. The results of 1 H-NMR spectroscopy revealed that all four ciliates employ the “low-salt-in” strategy by accumulating glycine betaine and ectoine as main osmoprotectants. We recorded a linear increase of these compatible solutes with increasing salinity of the external medium. Ectoine in particular stands out as its use as compatible solute was thought to be exclusive to prokaryotes. However, our findings and those recently made on two other heterotroph species call for a re-evaluation of this notion. The observation of varying relative proportions of compatible solutes within the four ciliates points to slight differences in haloadaptive strategies by regulatory action of the ciliates. Based on this finding, we provide an explanatory hypothesis for the distribution of protistan diversity along salinity gradients.

Related staff

  • Ramon Rosselló Móra
  • Related departments

  • Animal and Microbial Biodiversity
  • Related research groups

  • Environmental Microbiology