Institute of Environmental Science and Engineering, School of Metallurgy and Environment, Central South University, 410083, Changsha, China; National Engineering Research Center for Heavy Metals Pollution Control and Treatment, 410083, Changsha, China. Electronic address: [Email]
The release of hexavalent chromium [Cr(VI)] into water bodies poses a major threat to the environment and human health. However, studies of the biological response to Cr(VI) are limited. In this study, a toxic bacterial mechanism of Cr(VI) was investigated using Pannonibacter phragmitetus BB (hereafter BB), which was isolated from chromate slag. The maximum Cr(VI) concentrations with respect to the resistance and reduction by BB are 4000 mg L-1 and 2500 mg L-1, respectively. In the BB genome, more genes responsible for Cr(VI) resistance and reduction are observed compared with other P. phragmitetus strains. A total of 361 proteins were upregulated to respond to Cr(VI) exposure, including enzymes for Cr(VI) uptake, intracellular reduction, ROS detoxification, DNA repair, and Cr(VI) efflux and proteins associated with novel mechanisms involving extracellular reduction mediated by electron transfer, quorum sensing, and chemotaxis. Based on metabolomic analysis, 174 metabolites were identified. Most of the upregulated metabolites are involved in amino acid, glucose, lipid, and energy metabolisms. The results show that Cr(VI) induces metabolite production, while metabolites promote Cr(VI) reduction. Overall, multi-enzyme expression and metabolite production by BB contribute to its high ability to resist/reduce Cr(VI). This study provides details supporting the theory of Cr(VI) reduction and a theoretical basis for the efficient bioremoval of Cr(VI) from the environment.