[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The arsenite oxidase (Aio) from the facultative autotrophic Alphaproteobacterium Rhizobium sp. NT-26 is a bioenergetic enzyme involved in the oxidation of arsenite to arsenate. The enzyme from the distantly related heterotroph, Alcaligenes faecalis, which is thought to oxidise arsenite for detoxification, consists of a large α subunit (AioA) with bis-molybdopterin guanine dinucleotide at its active site and a 3Fe-4S cluster, and a small β subunit (AioB) which contains a Rieske 2Fe-2S cluster. The successful heterologous expression of the NT-26 Aio in Escherichia coli has resulted in the solution of its crystal structure. The NT-26 Aio, a heterotetramer, shares high overall similarity to the heterodimeric arsenite oxidase from A. faecalis but there are striking differences in the structure surrounding the Rieske 2Fe-2S cluster which we demonstrate explains the difference in the observed redox potentials (+225 mV vs. +130/160 mV, respectively). A combination of site-directed mutagenesis and electron paramagnetic resonance was used to explore the differences observed in the structure and redox properties of the Rieske cluster. In the NT-26 AioB the substitution of a serine (S126 in NT-26) for a threonine as in the A. faecalis AioB explains a -20 mV decrease in redox potential. The disulphide bridge in the A. faecalis AioB which is conserved in other betaproteobacterial AioB subunits and the Rieske subunit of the cytochrome bc 1 complex is absent in the NT-26 AioB subunit. The introduction of a disulphide bridge had no effect on Aio activity or protein stability but resulted in a decrease in the redox potential of the cluster. These results are in conflict with previous data on the betaproteobacterial AioB subunit and the Rieske of the bc 1 complex where removal of the disulphide bridge had no effect on the redox potential of the former but a decrease in cluster stability was observed in the latter.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(8):e72535. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Studies of native arsenite oxidases from Ralstonia sp. S22 and Rhizobium sp. NT-26 raised two major questions. The first one concerns the mode of the enzyme's membrane-association. It has been suggested that a hypothetical not conserved protein could account for this variable association. Expression of the wild type arsenite oxidase in Escherichia coli allowed us to study the cellular localization of this enzyme in the absence of such a hypothetical partner. The results with the Ralstonia sp. S22 enzyme suggest that no additional protein is required for membrane association. The second question addresses the influence of the disulfide bridge in the small Rieske subunit, conspicuously absent in the Rhizobium sp. NT-26 enzyme, on the properties of the [2Fe-2S] center. The disulfide bridge is considered to be formed only after translocation of the enzyme to the periplasm. To address this question we thus first expressed the enzyme in the absence of its Twin-arginine translocation signal sequence. The spectral and redox properties of the cytoplasmic enzyme are unchanged compared to the periplasmic one. We finally studied a disulfide bridge mutant, Cys106Ala, devoid of the first Cys involved in the disulfide bridge formation. This mutation, proposed to have a strong effect on redox and catalytic properties of the Rieske protein in Rieske/cytb complexes, had no significant effect on properties of the Rieske protein from arsenite oxidase. Our present results demonstrate that the effects attributed to the disulfide bridge in the Rieske/cytb complexes are likely to be secondary effects due to conformational changes.
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 06/2012; 1817(9):1701-8. · 4.66 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The arsenic (As) drinking water crisis in south and south-east Asia has stimulated intense study of the microbial processes controlling the redox cycling of As in soil-water systems. Microbial oxidation of arsenite is a critical link in the global As cycle, and phylogenetically diverse arsenite-oxidizing microorganisms have been isolated from various aquatic and soil environments. However, despite progress characterizing the metabolism of As in various pure cultures, no functional gene approaches have been developed to determine the importance and distribution of arsenite-oxidizing genes in soil-water-sediment systems. Here we report for the first time the successful amplification of arsenite oxidase-like genes (aroA/asoA/aoxB) from a variety of soil-sediment and geothermal environments where arsenite is known to be oxidized. Prior to the current work, only 16 aroA/asoA/aoxB-like gene sequences were available in GenBank, most of these being putative assignments from homology searches of whole genomes. Although aroA/asoA/aoxB gene sequences are not highly conserved across disparate phyla, degenerate primers were used successfully to characterize over 160 diverse aroA-like sequences from 10 geographically isolated, arsenic-contaminated sites and from 13 arsenite-oxidizing organisms. The primer sets were also useful for confirming the expression of aroA-like genes in an arsenite-oxidizing organism and in geothermal environments where arsenite is oxidized to arsenate. The phylogenetic and ecological diversity of aroA-like sequences obtained from this study suggests that genes for aerobic arsenite oxidation are widely distributed in the bacterial domain, are widespread in soil-water systems containing As, and play a critical role in the biogeochemical cycling of As.