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



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Copyright © 2014 Culligan, E.P. et al.

The Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre is a research centre funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI grant number 07/CE/B1368). The authors 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 and Coordinator of the EU FP7 IAPP project ClouDx-i. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.


The human gut microbiome consists of at least 3 million non-redundant genes, 150 times that of the core human genome. Herein, we report the identification and characterisation of a novel stress tolerance gene from the human gut metagenome. The locus, assigned brpA, encodes a membrane protein with homology to a brp/blh-family β-carotene monooxygenase. Cloning and heterologous expression of brpA in Escherichia coli confers a significant salt tolerance phenotype. Furthermore, when cultured in the presence of exogenous β-carotene, cell pellets adopt a red/orange pigmentation indicating the incorporation of carotenoids in the cell membrane.

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