Is the merA gene sufficient as a molecular marker of mercury bacterial resistance?
Gene encoding mercuric ion reductase, merA is a crucial component of the mer operon for reduction of nonorganic mercury ions into less toxic form. The merA gene or its fragments are commonly used as a molecular marker of bacterial resistance to mercury. In this study, it was tested whether the merA gene can be considered as a molecular marker of mercury bacterial resistance. For this purpose, the presence of the mer operon in bacteria isolated from the microbiota of Tussilago farfara L. growing in post-industrial mercury-contaminated and non-contaminated areas was verified by merA gene identification. Mercury resistance was determined by analyzing the bacterial growth parameters in standard Luria-Bertani (LB) medium with mercury concentration of 0.01% (w/v) and in medium without mercury addition. The results obtained showed that the merA gene was present in all T. farfara L. bacterial isolates growing in both mercury-contaminated and noncontaminated soils, however, only the isolates from mercury-contaminated areas were able to grow under mercury conditions. Although merA is commonly regarded as a molecular marker of bacterial mercury resistance, results of our research indicate the need for a verification of that statement/thesis and further investigation of bacterial mercury resistance to indicate other its key markers, structures, or mechanisms.
Copyright (c) 2022 Magdalena Trojańska, Martyna Rogala, Anna Kowalczyk, Marek Chyc, Dariusz Latowski, Monika Bojko
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