50, which is homologous with NhaH from Halobacillus dabanensis D-8T (92%) and Halobacillus aidingensis AD-6T (86%), and with Nhe2 from Bacillus sp. NRRL B-14911 (64%). It had a hydropathy profile with 10 putative transmembrane domains and a long carboxyl terminal
hydrophilic tail of 140 amino acid residues, similar to Nhap from Synechocystis sp. and Aphanothece halophytica, as well as NhaG from Bacillus subtilis. The m-nha gene in the antiporter-negative mutant E. coli KNabc conferred resistance to Na+ and the ability to grow under alkaline Dabrafenib datasheet conditions. The difference in amino acid sequence and the putative secondary structure suggested that the m-nha isolated from the Dagong selleck compound Ancient Brine Well in this study was a novel Na+/H+ antiporter gene. The Na+/H+ antiporter is a ubiquitous integral membrane protein in all biological kingdoms and plays a major role in maintaining cytoplasmic Na+ homeostasis and pH levels for living cells. In bacteria, the Na+/H+ antiporter has several primary functions, including extrusion of Na+ or Li+ in exchange for H+ to keep the cytoplasm iso-osmotic with the environment and avoid intoxication of living cells (Majernik et al., 2001; Hunte et al., 2005), establishment of an electrochemical potential of Na+ across the cytoplasmic membrane (Tsuchiya et al., 1977), regulation
and maintenance of intracellular pH homeostasis under alkaline conditions (Padan & Schuldiner, 1994), and cell volume regulation (Grinstein et al., 1992). Several
families of Na+/H+ antiporter genes have been identified in microorganisms. Although the primary selleckchem function of prokaryotic Na+/H+ antiporters in their cells is the tolerance to Na+, these antiporter proteins belong to different protein families (Hunte et al., 2005). The halobiont, an ideal organism for screening the salt-tolerance gene, survives as a wild type in naturally or artificially saline environments worldwide; among them, halophilic bacteria are the dominant species. In fact, almost all halophilic microorganisms have potential Na+ ion transport mechanisms to expel Na+ ions from the interior of the cells which are based on Na+/H+ antiporters (Oren, 1999). As the first recorded man-made brine well in the word, the Dagong Ancient Brine Well Zigong, Sichuan in southwestern China, has been producing brine since 250 bc, and the ancient salt-making facilities are still being used (Xiang et al., 2008). However, the construction and facilities of this brine well, which are made of bamboo, wood and stone, have been eroded by halophiles living in the brine. It is proposed that the Na+ pump with a high Na+ extrusion activity may be widely distributed among these halophilic microorganisms.