[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The metabolically versatile purple bacterium Rhodobacter sphaeroides 2.4.3 is a denitrifier whose genome contains two periplasmic nitrate reductase-encoding gene clusters. This work demonstrates nonredundant physiological roles for these two enzymes. One cluster is expressed aerobically and repressed under low oxygen while the second is maximally expressed under low oxygen. Insertional inactivation of the aerobically expressed nitrate reductase eliminated aerobic nitrate reduction, but cells of this strain could still respire nitrate anaerobically. In contrast, when the anaerobic nitrate reductase was absent, aerobic nitrate reduction was detectable, but anaerobic nitrate reduction was impaired. The aerobic nitrate reductase was expressed but not utilized in liquid culture but was utilized during growth on solid medium. Growth on a variety of carbon sources, with the exception of malate, the most oxidized substrate used, resulted in nitrite production on solid medium. This is consistent with a role for the aerobic nitrate reductase in redox homeostasis. These results show that one of the nitrate reductases is specific for respiration and denitrification while the other likely plays a role in redox homeostasis during aerobic growth.
Journal of bacteriology 09/2011; 193(23):6483-9. · 3.94 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Denitrification is generally considered to occur under micro-oxic or anoxic conditions. With this in mind, the physiological function and regulation of several steps in the denitrification of model α-proteobacteria are compared in the present review. Expression of the periplasmic nitrate reductase is quite variable, with this enzyme being maximally expressed under oxic conditions in some bacteria, but under micro-oxic conditions in others. Expression of nitrite and NO reductases in most denitrifiers is more tightly controlled, with expression only occurring under micro-oxic conditions. A possible exception to this may be Roseobacter denitrificans, but the physiological role of these enzymes under oxic conditions is uncertain.
Biochemical Society Transactions 01/2011; 39(1):179-83. · 2.59 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: R. sphaeroides strain 2.4.3, when lacking the cbb(3) oxidase, is unable to transition from aerobic respiration to denitrification using cellular respiration as a means of reducing oxygen levels. This is due to an inability to express nirK, the gene encoding nitrite reductase. Under certain photosynthetic conditions this strain can transition from aerobic to nitrate respiration, demonstrating that nirK expression can occur in the absence of a functional cbb(3) oxidase. If oxygen levels are reduced under non-photosynthetic conditions using low-oxygen gas mixes, nitrite reductase activity is detected at wild-type levels in the strain lacking the oxidase. In addition, co-culture experiments show that incubation of the cbb(3) deficient strain 2.4.3 with R. sphaeroides 2.4.1, which is nirK deficient but has the high-affinity cbb(3) oxidase, restores denitrification in sealed-vessel experiments. Taken together these results indicate that high end-point O(2) levels are the reason why the strain lacking the cbb(3) oxidase cannot transition from aerobic respiration to denitrification under certain conditions. The protein probably being affected by these O(2) levels is the transcriptional regulator NnrR.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Analysis of the Rhodobacter sphaeroides 2.4.3 genome revealed four previously unidentified sequences similar to the binding site of the transcriptional regulator NnrR. Expression studies demonstrated that three of these sequences are within the promoters of genes, designated paz, norEF, and cdgA, in the NnrR regulon, while the status of the fourth sequence, within the tat operon promoter, remains uncertain. nnrV, under control of a previously identified NnrR site, was also identified. paz encodes a pseudoazurin that is a donor of electrons to nitrite reductase. paz inactivation did not decrease nitrite reductase activity, but loss of pseudoazurin and cytochrome c(2) together reduced nitrite reduction. Inactivation of norEF reduced nitrite and nitric oxide reductase activity and increased the sensitivity to nitrite in a taxis assay. This suggests that loss of norEF increases NO production as a result of decreased nitric oxide reductase activity. 2.4.3 is the only strain of R. sphaeroides with norEF, even though all four of the strains whose genomes have been sequenced have the norCBQD operon and nnrR. norEF was shown to provide resistance to nitrite when it was mobilized into R. sphaeroides strain 2.4.1 containing nirK. Inactivation of the other identified genes did not reveal any detectable denitrification-related phenotype. The distribution of members of the NnrR regulon in R. sphaeroides revealed patterns of coselection of structural genes with the ancillary genes identified here. The strong coselection of these genes indicates their functional importance under real-world conditions, even though inactivation of the majority of them does not impact denitrification under laboratory conditions.
Journal of bacteriology 12/2009; 192(4):903-11. · 3.94 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cytochrome c' is a heme protein from a denitrifying variant of Rhodobacter sphaeroides which may serve to store and transport metabolic NO while protecting against NO toxicity. Its heme site bears resemblance through its 5-coordinate NO-binding capability to the regulatory site in soluble guanylate cyclase. A conserved arginine (Arg-127) abuts the 5-coordinate NO-heme binding site, and the alanine mutant R127A provided insight into the role of the Arg-127 in establishing the electronic structure of the heme-NO complex and in modifying the heme-centered redox potential and NO-binding affinity. By comparison to R127A, the wild-type Arg-127 was determined to increase the heme redox potential, diminish the NO-binding affinity, perturb and diminish the 14NO hyperfine coupling determined by ENDOR (electron nuclear double resonance), and increase the maximal electronic g-value. The larger isotropic NO hyperfine and the smaller maximal g-value of the R127A mutant together predicted that the Fe-N-O bond angle in the mutant is larger than that of the Arg-127-containing wild-type protein. Deuterium ENDOR provided evidence for exchangeable H/D consistent with hydrogen bonding of Arg-127, but not Ala-127, to the O of the NO. Proton ENDOR features previously assigned to Phe-14 on the distal side of the heme were unperturbed by the proximal side R127A mutation, implying the localized nature of that mutational perturbation at the proximal, NO-binding side of the heme. From this work two functions of positively charged Arg-127 emerged: the first was to maintain the KD of the cytochrome c' in the 1 microM range, and the second was to provide a redox potential that enhances the stability of the ferrous heme.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Agrobacterium tumefaciens can grow anaerobically via denitrification. To learn more about how cells regulate production of nitrite and nitric oxide, experiments were carried out to identify proteins involved in regulating expression and activity of nitrite and nitric oxide reductase. Transcription of NnrR, required for expression of these two reductases, was found to be under control of FnrN. Insertional inactivation of the response regulator actR significantly reduced nirK expression and Nir activity but not nnrR expression. Purified ActR bound to the nirK promoter but not the nor or nnrR promoter. A putative ActR binding site was identified in the nirK promoter region using mutational analysis and an in vitro binding assay. A nirK promoter containing mutations preventing the binding of ActR showed delayed expression but eventually reached about 65% of the activity of an equivalent wild-type promoter lacZ fusion. Truncation of the nirK promoter revealed that truncation up to and within the ActR binding site reduced expression, but fragments lacking the ActR binding site and retaining the NnrR binding site showed expression as high as or higher than the full-length fragment. Additional experiments revealed that expression of paz, encoding the copper protein pseudoazurin, was highly reduced in the actR or fnrN mutants and that ActR binds to the paz promoter. Inactivation of paz reduced Nir activity by 55%. These results help explain why Nir activity is very low in the actR mutant even though a nirK promoter with mutations in the ActR binding site showed significant expression.
Journal of bacteriology 02/2008; 190(1):78-86. · 3.94 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: With limited reductant and nitrite under anaerobic conditions, copper-containing nitrite reductase (NiR) of Rhodobacter sphaeroides yielded endogenous NO and the Cu(I)NO derivative of NiR. (14)N- and (15)N-nitrite substrates gave rise to characteristic (14)NO and (15)NO EPR hyperfine features indicating NO involvement, and enrichment of NiR with (63)Cu isotope caused an EPR line shape change showing copper involvement. A markedly similar Cu(I)NONiR complex was made by anaerobically adding a little endogenous NO gas to reduced protein and immediately freezing. The Cu(I)NONiR signal accounted for 60-90% of the integrated EPR intensity formerly associated with the Type 2 catalytic copper. Analysis of NO and Cu hyperfine couplings and comparison to couplings of inorganic Cu(I)NO model systems indicated approximately 50% spin on the N of NO and approximately 17% spin on Cu. ENDOR revealed weak nitrogen hyperfine coupling to one or more likely histidine ligands of copper. Although previous crystallography of the conservative I289V mutant had shown no structural change beyond the 289 position, this mutation, which eliminates the Cdelta1 methyl of I289, caused the Cu(I)NONiR EPR spectrum to change and proton ENDOR features to be significantly altered. The proton hyperfine coupling that was significantly altered was consistent with a dipolar interaction between the Cdelta1 protons of I289 and electron spin on the NO, where the NO would be located 3.0-3.7 A from these protons. Such a distance positions the NO of Cu(I)NO as an axial ligand to Type 2 Cu(I).
Journal of the American Chemical Society 11/2006; 128(40):13102-11. · 10.68 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The role of cytochrome c(2), encoded by cycA, and cytochrome c(Y), encoded by cycY, in electron transfer to the nitrite reductase of Rhodobacter sphaeroides 2.4.3 was investigated using both in vivo and in vitro approaches. Both cycA and cycY were isolated, sequenced and insertionally inactivated in strain 2.4.3. Deletion of either gene alone had no apparent effect on the ability of R. sphaeroides to reduce nitrite. In a cycA-cycY double mutant, nitrite reduction was largely inhibited. However, the expression of the nitrite reductase gene nirK from a heterologous promoter substantially restored nitrite reductase activity in the double mutant. Using purified protein, a turnover number of 5 s(-1) was observed for the oxidation of cytochrome c(2) by nitrite reductase. In contrast, oxidation of c(Y) only resulted in a turnover of approximately 0.1 s(-1). The turnover experiments indicate that c(2) is a major electron donor to nitrite reductase but c(Y) is probably not. Taken together, these results suggest that there is likely an unidentified electron donor, in addition to c(2), that transfers electrons to nitrite reductase, and that the decreased nitrite reductase activity observed in the cycA-cycY double mutant probably results from a change in nirK expression.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The five-coordinate NO-bound heme in cytochrome c' from an overexpressing variant of denitrifying R. sphaeroides 2.4.3 was investigated by proton, nitrogen, and deuterium Q-band ENDOR (electron nuclear double resonance). ENDOR was a direct probe of the unpaired electron density on the nitrogen of NO and, as measured across the EPR line shape, showed a hyperfine coupling range from 36 to 44 MHz for 14NO and 51 to 63 MHz for 15NO. The smallest NO coupling occurred at an electronic g-tensor axis perpendicular to the FeNO plane, and the largest hyperfine coupling occurred in the FeNO plane where the highest nitrogen valence spin density is located. The isotropic component of the NO hyperfine coupling indicated that the electron spin on the NO is not simply in a pi orbital having only 2p character but is in an orbital having 2s and 2p character in a 1:2 ratio. ENDOR frequencies from heme meso-protons, assigned with reference to porphyrin models, were determined to result from an anisotropic hyperfine tensor. This tensor indicated the orientation of the heme with respect to the FeNO plane and showed that the FeNO plane bisects the heme N-Fe-N 90 degrees angle. ENDOR provided additional structural information through dipolar couplings, as follows: (1) to the nearest proton of the Phe14 ring, approximately 3.1 A away from the heme iron, where Phe14 is positioned to occlude binding of NO as a 6th (distal) ligand; (2) to exchangeable deuterons assigned to Arg127 which may H-bond with the proximal NO ligand.
Journal of the American Chemical Society 05/2006; 128(15):5021-32. · 10.68 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A series of experiments was undertaken to learn more about the impact on other bacteria of nitric oxide (NO) produced during denitrification. The denitrifier Rhodobacter sphaeroides 2.4.3 was chosen as a denitrifier for these experiments. To learn more about NO production by this bacterium, NO levels during denitrification were measured by using differential mass spectrometry. This revealed that NO levels produced during nitrate respiration by this bacterium were in the low muM range. This concentration of NO is higher than that previously measured in denitrifiers, including Achromobacter cycloclastes and Paracoccus denitrificans. Therefore, both 2.4.3 and A. cycloclastes were used in this work to compare the effects of various NO levels on nondenitrifying bacteria. By use of bacterial overlays, it was found that the NO generated by A. cycloclastes and 2.4.3 cells during denitrification inhibited the growth of both Bacillus subtilis and R. sphaeroides 2.4.1 but that R. sphaeroides 2.4.3 caused larger zones of inhibition in the overlays than A. cycloclastes. Both R. sphaeroides 2.4.3 and A. cycloclastes induced the expression of the NO stress response gene hmp in B. subtilis. Taken together, these results indicate that there is variability in the NO concentrations produced by denitrifiers, but, irrespective of the NO levels produced, microbes in the surrounding environment were responsive to the NO produced during denitrification.
Applied and Environmental Microbiology 04/2006; 72(3):2200-5. · 3.68 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A number of the bacteria that form associations with plants are denitrifiers. To learn more about how the association with plants affects expression of denitrification genes, the regulation of nitrite and nitric oxide reductases was investigated in Agrobacterium tumefaciens. Analysis of free-living cells revealed that expression of the genes encoding nitrite and nitric oxide reductases, nirK and nor, respectively, requires low-oxygen conditions, nitric oxide, and the transcriptional regulator NnrR. Expression of nor was monitored in plant-associated bacteria using nor-gfp fusion expression. In root association experiments, only a small percentage of the attached cells were fluorescent, even when they were incubated under a nitrogen atmosphere. Inactivation of nirK had no significant effect on the ability of A. tumefaciens to bind to plant roots regardless of the oxygen tension, but it did decrease the occurrence of root-associated fluorescent cells. When wild-type cells containing the gfp fusion were infiltrated into leaves, most cells eventually became fluorescent. The same result was obtained when a nirK mutant was used, suggesting that nitric oxide activated nor expression in the endophytic bacteria. Addition of a nitric oxide synthase inhibitor to block nitric oxide generation by the plant prevented gfp expression in infiltrated nitrite reductase mutants, demonstrating that plant-derived nitric oxide can activate nor expression in infiltrated cells.
Applied and Environmental Microbiology 09/2005; 71(8):4427-36. · 3.68 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The electronic structure of the 5-coordinate quantum-mechanically mixed-spin (sextet-quartet) heme center in cytochrome c' was investigated by electron nuclear double resonance (ENDOR), a technique not previously applied to this mixed-spin system. Cytochrome c' was obtained from overexpressing variants of Rhodobacter sphaeroides 2.4.3. ENDOR for this study was done at the g(//) = 2.00 extremum where single-crystal-like, well-resolved spectra prevail. The heme meso protons of cytochrome c' showed a contact interaction that implied spin delocalization arising from the heme (d(z)(2)) orbital enhanced by iron out-of-planarity. An exchangeable proton ENDOR feature appeared from the proximal His123 Ndelta hydrogen. This Ndelta hydrogen, which crystallographically has no hydrogen-bonding partner and thus belongs to a neutral imidazole, showed a larger hyperfine coupling than the corresponding hydrogen-bonded Ndelta proton from metmyoglobin. The unique residue Phe14 occludes binding of a sixth ligand in cytochrome c', and ENDOR from a proton of the functionally important Phe14 ring, approximately 3.3 A away from the heme iron, was detected. ENDOR of the nitrogen ligand hyperfine structure is a direct probe into the sigma-antibonding (d(z)(2)) and (d(x)(2)-d(y)(2)) orbitals whose energies alter the relative stability and admixture of sextet and quartet states and whose electronic details were thus elucidated. ENDOR frequencies showed for cytochrome c' larger hyperfine couplings to the histidine nitrogen and smaller hyperfine couplings to the heme nitrogens than for high-spin ferric hemes. Both of these findings followed from the mixed-spin ground state, which has less (d(x)(2)-d(y)(2)) character than have fully high-spin ferric heme systems.
Journal of the American Chemical Society 08/2005; 127(26):9485-94. · 10.68 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cytochrome c' (Cyt c') is a c-type cytochrome with a pentacoordinate heme iron. The gene encoding this protein in Rhodobacter sphaeroides 2.4.3, designated cycP, was isolated and sequenced. Northern blot analysis and beta-galactosidase assays demonstrated that cycP transcription increased as oxygen levels decreased and was not repressed under denitrifying conditions as observed in another Rhodobacter species. CO difference spectra performed with extracts of cells grown under different conditions revealed that Cyt c' levels were highest during photosynthetic denitrifying growth conditions. The increase in Cyt c' under this condition was higher than would be predicted from transcriptional studies. Electron paramagnetic resonance analysis of whole cells demonstrated that Cyt c' binds NO during denitrification. Mass spectrometric analysis of nitrogen oxides produced by cells and purified protein did not indicate that Cyt c' has NO reductase activity. Taken together, these results suggest a model where Cyt c' in R. sphaeroides 2.4.3 may shuttle NO to the membrane, where it can be reduced.
Journal of Bacteriology 07/2005; 187(12):4077-85. · 3.19 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Brucella is the causative agent of the zoonotic disease brucellosis, which is endemic in many parts of the world. Genome sequencing of B. suis and B. melitensis revealed that both are complete denitrifiers. To learn more about the role of denitrification in these animal pathogens, a study of the role of denitrification in the closely related B. neotomae was undertaken. In contrast to B. suis and B. melitensis, it was found that B. neotomae is a partial denitrifier that can reduce nitrate to nitrite but no further. Examination of the B. neotomae genome showed that a deletion in the denitrification gene cluster resulted in complete loss of nirV and the partial deletion of nirK and nnrA. Even though the nor operon is intact, a norC-lacZ promoter fusion was not expressed in B. neotomae. However, the norC-lacZ fusion was expressed in the related denitrifier Agrobacterium tumefaciens, suggesting that the lack of expression in B. neotomae is due to inactivation of NnrA. A narK-lacZ promoter fusion was found to exhibit nitrate-dependent expression consistent with the partial denitrifier phenotype. Complementation of the deleted region in B. neotomae by using nirK, nirV, and nnrA from B. melitensis restored the ability of B. neotomae to reduce nitrite. There was a significant difference in the death of IRF-1-/- mice when infected with B. neotomae containing nirK, nirV, and nnrA and those infected with wild-type B. neotomae. The wild-type strain killed all the infected mice, whereas most of the mice infected with B. neotomae containing nirK, nirV, and nnrA survived.
Journal of Bacteriology 10/2004; 186(18):6025-31. · 3.19 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: NnrR, a transcriptional activator and member of the CRP/FNR family of regulators, is responsible for controlling the expression of a number of denitrification genes in Rhodobacter sphaeroides 2.4.3. The apparent effector for NnrR is nitric oxide, and in its presence NnrR activates expression of the nirK gene and the nor operon, encoding nitrite reductase and nitric oxide reductase, respectively. Whether nitric oxide directly interacts with NnrR to activate transcription is unknown. Other denitrifiers carry putative orthologs of NnrR. To gain insight into NnrR function, a number of conserved residues were mutagenized. The impact of these changes on NnrR function was assessed by monitoring expression of a nirK-lacZ fusion. In this way a region spanning from Tyr93 to Cys103 that contains residues critical for NnrR activity was identified.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A combination of spectroscopic methods and density functional calculations has been used to describe the electronic structure of the axial mutant (Met182Thr) of Rhodobacter sphaeroides nitrite reductase in which the axial methionine has been changed to a threonine. This mutation results in a dramatic change in the geometric and electronic structure of the copper site. The electronic absorption data imply that the type 1 site in the mutant is like a typical blue copper site in contrast to the wild-type site, which is green. Similar ligand field strength in the mutant and the wild type (from MCD spectra) explains the similar EPR parameters for very different electronic structures. Resonance Raman shows that the Cu-S(Cys) bond is stronger in the mutant relative to the wild type. From a combination of absorption, CD, MCD, and EPR data, the loss of the strong axial thioether (present in the wild-type site) results in an increase of the equatorial thiolate-Cu interaction and the site becomes less tetragonal. Spectroscopically calibrated density functional calculations were used to provide additional insight into the role of the axial ligand. The calculations reproduce well the experimental ground-state bonding and the changes in going from a green to a blue site along this coupled distortion coordinate. Geometry optimizations at the weak and strong axial ligand limits show that the bonding of the axial thioether is the key factor in determining the structure of the ground state. A comparison of plastocyanin (blue), wild-type nitrite reductase (green), and the Met182Thr mutant (blue) sites enables evaluation of the role of the axial ligand in the geometric and electronic structure of type 1 copper sites, which can affect the electron-transfer properties of these sites.
Journal of the American Chemical Society 01/2004; 125(48):14784-92. · 10.68 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To determine if green fluorescent protein could be used as a reporter for detecting nitric oxide production, gfp was fused to nnrS from Rhodobacter sphaeroides 2.4.3. nnrS was chosen because its expression requires nitric oxide. The presence of the fusion in R. sphaeroides 2.4.3 resulted in a significant increase in fluorescent intensity of the cells, but only when nitrite reductase was active. Cells lacking nitrite reductase activity and consequently the ability to generate nitric oxide were only weakly fluorescent when grown under denitrification-inducing conditions. One of the R. sphaeroides strains unable to generate nitric oxide endogenously was used as a reporter to detect exogenously produced nitric oxide. Incubation of this strain with sodium nitroprusside, a nitric oxide generator, significantly increased its fluorescence intensity. Mixing of known denitrifiers with the reporter strain also led to significant increases in fluorescence intensity, although the level varied depending on the denitrifier used. The reporter was tested on unknown isolates capable of growing anaerobically in the presence of nitrate, and one of these was able to induce expression of the fusion. Analysis of the 16S rRNA gene sequence of this isolate placed it within the Thauera aromatica subgroup, which is known to contain denitrifiers. These experiments demonstrate that this green fluorescent protein-based assay provides a useful method for assessing the ability of bacteria to produce nitric oxide.
Applied and Environmental Microbiology 08/2003; 69(7):3938-44. · 3.68 Impact Factor