Biosynthesis and uptake of glycine betaine as cold-stress response to low temperature in fish pathogen Vibrio anguillarum

J Microbiol. 2017 Jan;55(1):44-55. doi: 10.1007/s12275-017-6370-2. Epub 2016 Dec 30.


Fish pathogen Vibrio anguillarum, a mesophile bacterium, is usually found in estuarine and marine coastal ecosystems worldwide that pose a constant stress to local organism by its fluctuation in salinity as well as notable temperature change. Though V. anguillarum is able to proliferate while maintain its pathogenicity under low temperature (5-18°C), so far, coldadaption molecular mechanism of the bacteria is unknown. In this study, V. anguillarum was found possessing a putative glycine betaine synthesis system, which is encoded by betABI and synthesizes glycine betaine from its precursor choline. Furthermore, significant up-regulation of the bet gene at the transcriptional level was noted in log phase in response to cold-stress. Moreover, the accumulation of betaine glycine was only found appearing at low growth temperatures, suggesting that response regulation of both synthesis system and transporter system are cold-dependent. Furthermore, in-frame deletion mutation in the two putative ABC transporters and three putative BCCT family transporters associated with glycine betaine uptake could not block cellular accumulation of betaine glycine in V. anguillarum under coldstress, suggesting the redundant feature in V. anguillarum betaine transporter system. These findings confirmed that glycine betaine serves as an effective cold stress protectant and highlighted an underappreciated facet of the acclimatization of V. anguillarum to cold environments.

Keywords: Vibrio anguillarum; coldstress; compatible solute; glycine betaine; protectant.

MeSH terms

  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / genetics
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / metabolism
  • Adaptation, Physiological / genetics*
  • Animals
  • Betaine / metabolism*
  • Choline / metabolism
  • Cold Temperature*
  • Cold-Shock Response
  • Fishes / microbiology
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Sequence Deletion
  • Stress, Physiological* / genetics
  • Vibrio / genetics*
  • Vibrio / growth & development
  • Vibrio / pathogenicity
  • Vibrio / physiology*


  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters
  • Betaine
  • Choline