Extending the models for iron and sulfur oxidation in the extreme Acidophile Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans

Center for Bioinformatics and Genome Biology, MIFAB, Fundación Ciencia para la Vida and Depto. de Ciencias Biologicas, Universidad Andres Bello, Santiago, Chile.
BMC Genomics (Impact Factor: 3.99). 09/2009; 10(1):394. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2164-10-394
Source: PubMed


Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans gains energy from the oxidation of ferrous iron and various reduced inorganic sulfur compounds at very acidic pH. Although an initial model for the electron pathways involved in iron oxidation has been developed, much less is known about the sulfur oxidation in this microorganism. In addition, what has been reported for both iron and sulfur oxidation has been derived from different A. ferrooxidans strains, some of which have not been phylogenetically characterized and some have been shown to be mixed cultures. It is necessary to provide models of iron and sulfur oxidation pathways within one strain of A. ferrooxidans in order to comprehend the full metabolic potential of the pangenome of the genus.
Bioinformatic-based metabolic reconstruction supported by microarray transcript profiling and quantitative RT-PCR analysis predicts the involvement of a number of novel genes involved in iron and sulfur oxidation in A. ferrooxidans ATCC23270. These include for iron oxidation: cup (copper oxidase-like), ctaABT (heme biogenesis and insertion), nuoI and nuoK (NADH complex subunits), sdrA1 (a NADH complex accessory protein) and atpB and atpE (ATP synthetase F0 subunits). The following new genes are predicted to be involved in reduced inorganic sulfur compounds oxidation: a gene cluster (rhd, tusA, dsrE, hdrC, hdrB, hdrA, orf2, hdrC, hdrB) encoding three sulfurtransferases and a heterodisulfide reductase complex, sat potentially encoding an ATP sulfurylase and sdrA2 (an accessory NADH complex subunit). Two different regulatory components are predicted to be involved in the regulation of alternate electron transfer pathways: 1) a gene cluster (ctaRUS) that contains a predicted iron responsive regulator of the Rrf2 family that is hypothesized to regulate cytochrome aa3 oxidase biogenesis and 2) a two component sensor-regulator of the RegB-RegA family that may respond to the redox state of the quinone pool.
Bioinformatic analysis coupled with gene transcript profiling extends our understanding of the iron and reduced inorganic sulfur compounds oxidation pathways in A. ferrooxidans and suggests mechanisms for their regulation. The models provide unified and coherent descriptions of these processes within the type strain, eliminating previous ambiguity caused by models built from analyses of multiple and divergent strains of this microorganism.


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    • "(1)) [7] [8]. The intermediary sulfur compounds formed in the reaction, such as thiosulfate and elemental sulfur, can be further oxidized to sulfate [8] [9] [10]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Inorganic sulfur compounds, such as tetrathionate, are often present in mining process and waste waters. The biodegradation of tetrathionate was studied under acidic conditions in aerobic batch cultivations and in anaerobic anodes of two-chamber flow-through microbial fuel cells (MFCs). All four cultures originating from biohydrometallurgical process waters from multimetal ore heap bioleaching oxidized tetrathionate aerobically at pH below 3 with sulfate as the main soluble metabolite. In addition, all cultures generated electricity from tetrathionate in MFCs at pH below 2.5 with ferric iron as the terminal cathodic electron acceptor. The maximum current and power densities during MFC operation and in the performance analysis were 79.6 mA m−2 and 13.9 mW m−2 and 433 mA m−2 and 17.6 mW m−2, respectively. However, the low coulombic efficiency (below 5%) indicates that most of the electrons were directed to other processes, such as aerobic oxidation of tetrathionate and unmeasured intermediates. The microbial community analysis revealed that the dominant species both in the anolyte and on the anode electrode surface of the MFCs were Acidithiobacillus spp. and Ferroplasma spp. This study provides a proof of concept that tetrathionate serves as electron donor for biological electricity production in the pH range of 1.2–2.5.
    Journal of Hazardous Materials 11/2014; 284. DOI:10.1016/j.jhazmat.2014.10.045 · 4.53 Impact Factor
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    • "To date, little is known about electron transfer chains in A. thiooxidans, but it has been elaborated in A. ferrooxidans. One of the electron transfer chains in A. ferrooxidans is that electrons from ferrous iron oxidation flow through Cyc2 to rusticyanin, and then be transferred to oxygen via c-cytochrome Cyc1 to aa3 cytochrome oxidase (downhill electron pathway) or to NAD+ via c-cytochrome CycA1 → bc1 complex → ubiquinone pool → NADH dehydrogenase (uphill electron pathway) [2,6,58]. Another is that electrons from elemental sulfur or RISCs are transferred via the quinol pool (QH2) either (1) directly to terminal oxidases bd or bo3, or indirectly to a bc1 complex and a cytochrome c (CycA2) or a high potential iron-sulfur protein (HiPIP), whose gene iro was identified to be associated with the pet II gene cluster thought to be involved in sulfur oxidation, probably to the aa3 oxidase to produce a proton gradient or (2) to NADH complex I to generate reducing power [2,6]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Acidithiobacillus thiooxidans (A. thiooxidans), a chemolithoautotrophic extremophile, is widely used in the industrial recovery of copper (bioleaching or biomining). The organism grows and survives by autotrophically utilizing energy derived from the oxidation of elemental sulfur and reduced inorganic sulfur compounds (RISCs). However, the lack of genetic manipulation systems has restricted our exploration of its physiology. With the development of high-throughput sequencing technology, the whole genome sequence analysis of A. thiooxidans has allowed preliminary models to be built for genes/enzymes involved in key energy pathways like sulfur oxidation. Results The genome of A. thiooxidans A01 was sequenced and annotated. It contains key sulfur oxidation enzymes involved in the oxidation of elemental sulfur and RISCs, such as sulfur dioxygenase (SDO), sulfide quinone reductase (SQR), thiosulfate:quinone oxidoreductase (TQO), tetrathionate hydrolase (TetH), sulfur oxidizing protein (Sox) system and their associated electron transport components. Also, the sulfur oxygenase reductase (SOR) gene was detected in the draft genome sequence of A. thiooxidans A01, and multiple sequence alignment was performed to explore the function of groups of related protein sequences. In addition, another putative pathway was found in the cytoplasm of A. thiooxidans, which catalyzes sulfite to sulfate as the final product by phosphoadenosine phosphosulfate (PAPS) reductase and adenylylsulfate (APS) kinase. This differs from its closest relative Acidithiobacillus caldus, which is performed by sulfate adenylyltransferase (SAT). Furthermore, real-time quantitative PCR analysis showed that most of sulfur oxidation genes were more strongly expressed in the S0 medium than that in the Na2S2O3 medium at the mid-log phase. Conclusion Sulfur oxidation model of A. thiooxidans A01 has been constructed based on previous studies from other sulfur oxidizing strains and its genome sequence analyses, providing insights into our understanding of its physiology and further analysis of potential functions of key sulfur oxidation genes.
    BMC Microbiology 07/2014; 14(1):179. DOI:10.1186/1471-2180-14-179 · 2.73 Impact Factor
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    • "An enzyme catalyzing the sulfite to APS is required, if sulfate adenylyltransferase indeed catalyzes APS to sulfate. In A. ferrooxidans, the missing function is postulated to be accomplished by the hypothetical gene embedded in the hdr locus of sulfur oxidizers [37]. The conserved hypothetical gene was also found in the hdr locus of S. thermosulfidooxidans genome (Table S4 in File S1). "
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    ABSTRACT: The genus Sulfobacillus is a cohort of mildly thermophilic or thermotolerant acidophiles within the phylum Firmicutes and requires extremely acidic environments and hypersalinity for optimal growth. However, our understanding of them is still preliminary partly because few genome sequences are available. Here, the draft genome of Sulfobacillus thermosulfidooxidans strain ST was deciphered to obtain a comprehensive insight into the genetic content and to understand the cellular mechanisms necessary for its survival. Furthermore, the expressions of key genes related with iron and sulfur oxidation were verified by semi-quantitative RT-PCR analysis. The draft genome sequence of Sulfobacillus thermosulfidooxidans strain ST, which encodes 3225 predicted coding genes on a total length of 3,333,554 bp and a 48.35% G+C, revealed the high degree of heterogeneity with other Sulfobacillus species. The presence of numerous transposases, genomic islands and complete CRISPR/Cas defence systems testifies to its dynamic evolution consistent with the genome heterogeneity. As expected, S. thermosulfidooxidans encodes a suit of conserved enzymes required for the oxidation of inorganic sulfur compounds (ISCs). The model of sulfur oxidation in S. thermosulfidooxidans was proposed, which showed some different characteristics from the sulfur oxidation of Gram-negative A. ferrooxidans. Sulfur oxygenase reductase and heterodisulfide reductase were suggested to play important roles in the sulfur oxidation. Although the iron oxidation ability was observed, some key proteins cannot be identified in S. thermosulfidooxidans. Unexpectedly, a predicted sulfocyanin is proposed to transfer electrons in the iron oxidation. Furthermore, its carbon metabolism is rather flexible, can perform the transformation of pentose through the oxidative and non-oxidative pentose phosphate pathways and has the ability to take up small organic compounds. It encodes a multitude of heavy metal resistance systems to adapt the heavy metal-containing environments.
    PLoS ONE 06/2014; 9(6):e99417. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0099417 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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