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Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. viciae 3841 contains six putative quaternary ammonium transporters (Qat), of the ABC family. Qat6 was strongly induced by hyperosmosis although the solute transported was not identified. All six systems were induced by the quaternary amines choline and glycine betaine. It was confirmed by microarray analysis of the genome that pRL100079-83 (qat6) is the most strongly upregulated transport system under osmotic stress, although other transporters and 104 genes are more than threefold upregulated. A range of quaternary ammonium compounds were tested but all failed to improve growth of strain 3841 under hyperosmotic stress. One Qat system (gbcXWV) was induced 20-fold by glycine betaine and choline and a Tn5::gbcW mutant was severely impaired for both transport and growth on these compounds, demonstrating that it is the principal system for their use as carbon and nitrogen sources. It transports glycine betaine and choline with a high affinity (apparent K(m), 168 and 294 nM, respectively).

Original publication




Journal article


FEMS Microbiol Lett

Publication Date





212 - 220


ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters, Bacterial Proteins, Biological Transport, Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial, Mutation, Operon, Peas, Quaternary Ammonium Compounds, Rhizobium leguminosarum