Silicates Eroded under Simulated Martian Conditions Effectively Kill Bacteria—A Challenge for Life on Mars
Bacterial manganese (Mn) oxidation plays an important role in the global biogeochemical cycling of Mn and other compounds, and the diversity and prevalence of Mn oxidizers have been well established. Despite many hypotheses of why these bacteria may oxidize Mn, the physiological reasons remain elusive. Intracellular Mn levels were determined for Pseudomonas putida GB-1 grown in the presence or absence of Mn by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Mn oxidizing wild type P. putida GB-1 had higher intracellular Mn than non Mn oxidizing mutants grown under the same conditions. P. putida GB-1 had a 5 fold increase in intracellular Mn compared to the non Mn oxidizing mutant P. putida GB-1-007 and a 59 fold increase in intracellular Mn compared to P. putida GB-1 ∆2665 ∆2447. The intracellular Mn is primarily associated with the less than 3 kDa fraction, suggesting it is not bound to protein. Protein oxidation levels in Mn oxidizing and non oxidizing cultures were relatively similar, yet Mn oxidation did increase survival of P. putida GB-1 when oxidatively stressed. This study is the first to link Mn oxidation to Mn homeostasis and oxidative stress protection.