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Methylation, sugar puckering and Z-form status of DNA from a heavy metal-acclimated freshwater Gordonia sp.

2019-09-01
Gurbanov, Rafig
Tuncer, Sinem
Mingu, Sara
Severcan, Feride
Gözen, Ayşe Gül
Heavy metal acclimation of bacteria is of particular interest in many aspects. It could add to our understanding of adaptation strategies applied by bacteria, as well as help us in devising ways to use such adaptive bacteria for bioremediation. In this study, we have explored the changes in the DNA of an aquatic Gordonia sp. acclimated to silver, cadmium, and lead. We have measured the changes in the DNA extracted from the acclimated bacteria by using ATR-FTIR coupled with unsupervised and supervised pattern recognition algorithms. Although whole-cell FTIR studies do reveal nucleic acid changes, the special care should be taken when considering marker nucleic acid bands in such spectra, as various other cell or tissue constituents also yield IR bands in the same region. An FTIR study on isolated DNA can be used to avoid this problem. The IR spectral profiles of the DNA molecules revealed significant changes in the backbone and sugar conformations of upon acclimation. We then further analyzed the DNA's global cytosine-methylation patterns of the heavy metal-acclimated bacteria. We aimed to find out whether epigenetic mechanisms operate in bacteria for survival and growth in inhibitory heavy metal concentrations or not. We found hypermethylation in Cd acclimation but hypomethylation for both Pb and Ag in Gordonia sp. Our results imply that changes in the conformational and methylation states of DNA seem to let bacteria to thrive in otherwise inhibitory conditions and mark the involvement of epigenetic modulation in acclimation processes.