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Proteomic profiling of Rhizobium tropici PRF 81: identification of conserved and specific responses to heat stress

Douglas Fabiano Gomes12, Jesiane Stefânia da Silva Batista13, Aline Luiza Schiavon13, Diva Souza Andrade4 and Mariangela Hungria12*

Author Affiliations

1 Embrapa Soja, C.P. 231, 86001-970, Londrina, PR, Brazil

2 Departamento de Biotecnologia, Universidade Estadual de Londrina, C.P. 6001, 86055-990, Londrina, Brazil

3 Centro Universitário Filadélfia (UNIFIL), C.P. 1626, 86020-000, Londrina, Brazil

4 Instituto Agronômico do Paraná (IAPAR), C.P. 481, 86001-970, Londrina, Brazil

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BMC Microbiology 2012, 12:84  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-12-84

Published: 30 May 2012



Rhizobium tropici strain PRF 81 (= SEMIA 4080) has been used in commercial inoculants for application to common-bean crops in Brazil since 1998, due to its high efficiency in fixing nitrogen, competitiveness against indigenous rhizobial populations and capacity to adapt to stressful tropical conditions, representing a key alternative to application of N-fertilizers. The objective of our study was to obtain an overview of adaptive responses to heat stress of strain PRF 81, by analyzing differentially expressed proteins when the bacterium is grown at 28°C and 35°C.


Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2DE) revealed up-regulation of fifty-nine spots that were identified by MALDI-TOF/TOF-TOF. Differentially expressed proteins were associated with the functional COG categories of metabolism, cellular processes and signaling, information storage and processing. Among the up-regulated proteins, we found some related to conserved heat responses, such as molecular chaperones DnaK and GroEL, and other related proteins, such as translation factors EF-Tu, EF-G, EF-Ts and IF2. Interestingly, several oxidative stress-responsive proteins were also up-regulated, and these results reveal the diversity of adaptation mechanisms presented by this thermotolerant strain, suggesting a cross-talk between heat and oxidative stresses.


Our data provide valuable protein-expression information relevant to the ongoing genome sequencing of strain PRF 81, and contributes to our still-poor knowledge of the molecular determinants of the thermotolerance exhibited by R. tropici species.