Uranium (U) tolerant aerobic heterotrophs were isolated from the subsurface soils of one of the pre-mined U-rich deposits at Domiasiat located in the north-eastern part of India. On screening of genomic DNA from 62 isolates exhibiting superior U and heavy metal tolerance, 32 isolates were found to be positive for P(IB)-type ATPase genes. Phylogenetic incongruence and anomalous DNA base compositions revealed the acquisition of P(IB)-type ATPase genes by six isolates through horizontal gene transfer (HGT). Three of these instances of HGT appeared to have occurred at inter-phylum level and the other three instances indicated to have taken place at intra-phylum level. This study provides an insight into one of the possible survival strategies that bacteria might employ to adapt to environments rich in uranium and heavy metals.
Nongkhlaw, M., Kumar, R., Acharya, C., & Joshi, S. R. (2012). Occurrence of Horizontal Gene Transfer of PIB-type ATPase Genes among Bacteria Isolated from an Uranium Rich Deposit of Domiasiat in North East India. PLoS ONE, 7(10). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0048199