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    Bacteria that inhabit glaciers usually produce carotenoids. Here, we report that a group of zeaxanthin-producing glacial Flavobacterium exhibited light-promoted growth. Of the tested 47 strains, 45 showed increased growths but two died under illumination at 50 μmol photon m-2 s-1. Light stimulation occurred mainly in either anoxic or nutrient-poor cultures, while the same levels of light promotion were found for that grown at 14 and 7 °C. Pigment assays identified overrepresentative zeaxanthin but trace retinal in the light promoted 45 strains, while flexirubin was exclusively in the light-lethal two. Genomic analysis revealed the gene cluster for zeaxanthin synthesis in the 45 strains, in which 37 strains also harbored the proteorhodopsin gene prd. Transcriptomic analysis found that light-induced expressions of both the zeaxanthin synthesis and proteorhodopsin genes. Whereas, deletion of the prd gene in one strain did not diminish light promotion, inhibition of zeaxanthin synthesis did. In comparison, no light promotion was determined in a glacier Cryobacterium luteum that produced a non-zeaxanthin-type carotenoid. Therefore, light stimulation on the glacial Flavobacterium is mostly likely related to zeaxanthin, which could provide better photoprotection and sustain membrane integrity for the organisms living in cold environments.


    Qing Liu, Wei Li, Di Liu, Lingyan Li, Jie Li, Na Lv, Fei Liu, Baoli Zhu, Yuguang Zhou, Yuhua Xin, Xiuzhu Dong. Light stimulates anoxic and oligotrophic growth of glacial Flavobacterium strains that produce zeaxanthin. The ISME journal. 2021 Jan 15

    PMID: 33452478

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