Microbial Ecophysiology of Vibrio ruber

Tjaša Danevčič, Maja Borić and David Stopar*

University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty, Department of Food Science and Technology, Chair of Microbiology, Večna pot 111, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia

Article history
Received: October 14, 2013
Accepted: January 16, 2014

Key words
ecophysiology, secondary metabolites, prodigiosin, Vibrio ruber, marine bacteria


Bacteria use different adaptation strategies to survive environmental perturbations. In this minireview, adaptation strategies of new red-pigmented Vibrio ruber isolated from coastal environments to different environmental stresses (i.e. salinity, viscosity, UV light, mitomycin C, nutrient availability and temperature) are reviewed. To cope with environmental stresses Vibrio ruber uses several different adaptive strategies. For example, lipid composition as well as phase behaviour are strongly dependent on salt concentration. Vibrio ruber membrane has no hydroxy fatty acids, but exceptionally high lysolipid content compared to other related Vibrio species. Inorganic nutrient uptake by bacteria is selective, depends on environmental conditions and varies several fold with environmental perturbations. Protein composition, carbon flow through the central metabolic pathways, energy generation as well as secondary metabolite production adapt readily to stress conditions. The activity of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase proved to be a good indicator of Vibrio ruber stress. Cells are able to modulate their local viscosity in response to variations of environmental viscosity. The bacterium harbours several viral genetic elements in its genome, which could be induced by mitomycin C. Environmental conditions during growth of bacteria have a significant effect on lysate carbon turnover. Secondary metabolite prodigiosin confers protection against UV in the environment, which adds to the known repertoire of prodigiosin ecophysiological functions. In conclusion, Vibrio ruber in its short acquaintance with the scientific community (less than ten years) has proven to be an immensely valuable model system for ecophysiological studies of bacteria.

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