Impact of Tellurite on the Metabolism of Paenibacillus pabuli AL109b With Flagellin Production Explaining High Reduction Capacity
Tellurium (Te) is a metalloid with scarce and scattered abundance but with an increased interest in human activity for its uses in emerging technologies. As is seen for other metals and metalloids, the result of mining activity and improper disposal of high-tech devices will lead to niches with increased abundance of Te. This metalloid will be more available to bacteria and represent an increasing selective pressure. This environmental problem may constitute an opportunity to search for microorganisms with genetic and molecular mechanisms of microbial resistance to Te toxic anions. Organisms from Te-contaminated niches could provide tools for Te remediation and fabrication of Te-containing structures with added value. The objective of this study was to determine the ability of a high metal-resistant Paenibacillus pabuli strain ALJ109b, isolated from high metal content mining residues, to reduce tellurite ion, and to evaluate the formation of metallic tellurium by cellular reduction, isolate the protein responsible, and determine the metabolic response to tellurite during growth. P. pabuli ALJ109b demonstrated to be resistant to Te (IV) at concentrations higher than reported for its genus. It can efficiently remove soluble Te (IV) from solution, over 20% in 8 h of growth, and reduce it to elemental Te, forming monodisperse nanostructures, verified by scattering electron microscopy. Cultivation of P. pabuli ALJ109b in the presence of Te (IV) affected the general protein expression pattern, and hence the metabolism, as demonstrated by high-throughput proteomic analysis. The Te (IV)-induced metabolic shift is characterized by an activation of ROS response. Flagellin from P. pabuli ALJ109b demonstrates high Te (0) forming activity in neutral to basic conditions in a range of temperatures from 20°C to 37°C. In conclusion, the first metabolic characterization of a strain of P. pabuli response to Te (IV) reveals a highly resistant strain with a unique Te (IV) proteomic response. This strain, and its flagellin, display, all the features of potential tools for Te nanoparticle production.