Document Type

Article

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Disciplines

Biology

CIT Disciplines

1.6 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES

Publication Details

PLOS ONE

Copyright © 2013 Culligan, E.P. et al.

EPC is funded by Science Foundation Ireland under the CSET Uplift Grant. We acknowledge the continued financial assistance of the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre, funded by Science Foundation Ireland. JRM acknowledges funding from The Royal Society which supports the bioinformatic cluster (Hive) at Cardiff University, School of Biosciences. RDS is an ESCMID Research Fellow. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Abstract

Functional environmental screening of metagenomic libraries is a powerful means to identify and assign function to novel genes and their encoded proteins without any prior sequence knowledge. In the current study we describe the identification and subsequent analysis of a salt-tolerant clone from a human gut metagenomic library. Following transposon mutagenesis we identified an unknown gene (stlA, for “salt tolerance locus A”) with no current known homologues in the databases. Subsequent cloning and expression in Escherichia coli MKH13 revealed that stlA confers a salt tolerance phenotype in its surrogate host. Furthermore, a detailed in silico analysis was also conducted to gain additional information on the properties of the encoded StlA protein. The stlA gene is rare when searched against human metagenome datasets such as MetaHit and the Human Microbiome Project and represents a novel and unique salt tolerance determinant which appears to be found exclusively in the human gut environment.

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