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Authors: Mukhtar, Salma and Ahmad, Samia and Bashir, Aftab and Mehnaz, Samina and Mirza, Muhammad Sajjad and Malik, Kauser Abdulla

Bacterial plasmids carry genes that code for additional traits such as osmoregulation, CO2 fixation, antibiotic and heavy metal resistance, root nodulation and nitrogen fixation. The main objective of the current study was to identify plasmid-conferring osmoregulatory genes in bacteria isolated from rhizospheric and non-rhizospheric soils of halophytes (Salsola stocksii and Atriplex amnicola). More than 55% of halophilic bacteria from the rhizosphere and 70% from non-rhizospheric soils were able to grow at 3?M salt concentrations. All the strains showed optimum growth at 1.5-3.0?M NaCl. Bacterial strains from the Salsola rhizosphere showed maximum (31%) plasmid elimination during curing experiments as compared to bacterial strains from the Atriplex rhizosphere and non-rhizospheric soils. Two plasmid cured strains Bacillus HL2HP6 and Oceanobacillus HL2RP7 lost their ability to grow in halophilic medium, but they grew well on LB medium. The plasmid cured strains also showed a change in sensitivity to specific antibiotics. These plasmids were isolated and transformed into E. coli strains and growth response of wild-type and transformed E. coli strains was compared at 1.5-4?M NaCl concentrations. Chromosomal DNA and plasmids from Bacillus filamentosus HL2HP6 were sequenced by using high throughput sequencing approach. Results of functional analysis of plasmid sequences showed different proteins and enzymes involved in osmoregulation of bacteria, such as trehalose, ectoine synthetase, porins, proline, alanine, inorganic ion transporters, dehydrogenases and peptidases. Our results suggested that plasmid conferring osmoregulatory genes play a vital role to maintain internal osmotic balance of bacterial cells and these genes can be used to develop salt tolerant transgenic crops.Copyright © 2019 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

Journal: Microbiological research
DOI: 10.1016/j.micres.2019.126307
Year: 2019

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