Electron Communication of Bacillus subtilis in Harsh Environments.


CAS Key Laboratory of Urban Pollutant Conversion, Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xiamen 361021, P.R.China. Electronic address: [Email]


Elucidating the effect of harsh environments on the activities of microorganisms is important in revealing how microbes withstand unfavorable conditions or evolve mechanisms to counteract those effects, many of which involve electron transfer phenomena. Here we show that the non-acidophilic and non-thermophilic Bacillus subtilis is able to maintain activity after being subjected to extreme temperatures (100°C for up to 8 h) and acidic environments (pH = 1.50 for over 2 years). In the process, our results suggest that B. subtilis utilizes an extracellular electron transfer as an electron communication pathway between B. subtilis and the environment that involves the cofactor nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide as an essential participant to maintain viability. Elucidation of the capability of the non-acidophilic and non-thermophilic strain to maintain viability under these extreme conditions could aid in understanding the cell responses to different environments from the perspective of energy conservation pathways.