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Bacterial resistance to inorganic and organic mercury compounds (HgR) is one of the most widely observed phenotypes in eubacteria. Loci conferring HgR in Gram-positive or Gram-negative bacteria typically have at minimum a mercuric reductase enzyme (MerA) that reduces reactive ionic Hg(II) to volatile, relatively inert, monoatomic Hg(0) vapor and a(More)
Hypotheses that dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and electrochemical charge affect the rate of methylmercury [CH3Hg(I)] synthesis by modulating the availability of ionic mercury [Hg(II)] to bacteria were tested by using a mer-lux bioindicator (O. Selifonova, R. Burlage, and T. Barkay, Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 59:3083-3090, 1993). A decline in(More)
A new method for the isolation of intracellular and extracellular DNA from a range of sediment types has been developed. This method is based upon the direct lysis of cells in the sediment, extraction of released DNA from the sediments and its subsequent purification by CsC1-EtBr gradient centrifugation and/or hydroxyapatite chromatography. Yields of 26 ~g(More)
Alasan, a high-molecular-weight bioemulsifier complex of an anionic polysaccharide and proteins that is produced by Acinetobacter radioresistens KA53 (S. Navon-Venezia, Z. Zosim, A. Gottlieb, R. Legmann, S. Carmeli, E. Z. Ron, and E. Rosenberg, Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 61:3240-3244, 1995), enhanced the aqueous solubility and biodegradation rates of(More)
Biosensors for the detection of pollutants in the environment can complement analytical methods by distinguishing bioavailable from inert, unavailable forms of contaminants. By using fusions of the well-understood Tn21 mercury resistance operon (mer) with promoterless luxCDABE from Vibrio fischeri, we have constructed and tested three biosensors for Hg(II).(More)
The mechanism of adaptation to Hg in four aquatic habitats was studied by correlating microbially mediated Hg volatilization with the adaptive state of the exposed communities. Community diversity, heterotrophic activity, and Hg resistance measurements indicated that adaptation of all four communities was stimulated by preexposure to Hg. In saline water(More)
Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) has a crucial role in microbial evolution, in shaping the structure and function of microbial communities and in controlling a myriad of environmental and public-health problems. Here, Barth F. Smets and Tamar Barkay assess the importance of HGT and place the selection of articles in this Focus issue in context.
Proteorhodopsins (PRs) are light-driven proton pumps that have been found in a variety of marine environments. The goal of this study was to search for PR presence in different freshwater and brackish environments and to explore the diversity of non-marine PR protein. Here, we show that PRs exist in distinctly different aquatic environments, ranging from(More)
The curious phenomenon of similar levels of methylmercury (MeHg) accumulation in fish from contaminated and pristine environments may be explained by the observation that the proportion of total mercury (HgT) present as MeHg is inversely related to HgT in natural waters. We hypothesize that this "MeHg accumulation paradox" is explained by the quantitative(More)