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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    • "The encoding genes for " Ferrovum " strain JA12 are listed in Table Ein S3 Table.; a[73]; b[74]; c[75]; d[28]; e[17]; f[61], this publication; g767778; h[79,80]; i[78,81]; j[82]; k[29]; l[83]; m[84].more likely involved in the oxidation of reduced sulfur compounds[77,79,85]. The genome of " Ferrovum " strain JA12 was predicted to encode a homologous high potential iron-sulfur protein (FERRO_02670) which shares 71% sequence identity with the iron oxidase-like protein in FKB7. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Members of the genus "Ferrovum" are ubiquitously distributed in acid mine drainage (AMD) waters which are characterised by their high metal and sulfate loads. So far isolation and microbiological characterisation have only been successful for the designated type strain "Ferrovum myxofaciens" P3G. Thus, knowledge about physiological characteristics and the phylogeny of the genus "Ferrovum" is extremely scarce. Objective: In order to access the wider genetic pool of the genus "Ferrovum" we sequenced the genome of a "Ferrovum"-containing mixed culture and successfully assembled the almost complete genome sequence of the novel "Ferrovum" strain JA12. Phylogeny and lifestyle: The genome-based phylogenetic analysis indicates that strain JA12 and the type strain represent two distinct "Ferrovum" species. "Ferrovum" strain JA12 is characterised by an unusually small genome in comparison to the type strain and other iron oxidising bacteria. The prediction of nutrient assimilation pathways suggests that "Ferrovum" strain JA12 maintains a chemolithoautotrophic lifestyle utilising carbon dioxide and bicarbonate, ammonium and urea, sulfate, phosphate and ferrous iron as carbon, nitrogen, sulfur, phosphorous and energy sources, respectively. Unique metabolic features: The potential utilisation of urea by "Ferrovum" strain JA12 is moreover remarkable since it may furthermore represent a strategy among extreme acidophiles to cope with the acidic environment. Unlike other acidophilic chemolithoautotrophs "Ferrovum" strain JA12 exhibits a complete tricarboxylic acid cycle, a metabolic feature shared with the closer related neutrophilic iron oxidisers among the Betaproteobacteria including Sideroxydans lithotrophicus and Thiobacillus denitrificans. Furthermore, the absence of characteristic redox proteins involved in iron oxidation in the well-studied acidophiles Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans (rusticyanin) and Acidithiobacillus ferrivorans (iron oxidase) indicates the existence of a modified pathway in "Ferrovum" strain JA12. Therefore, the results of the present study extend our understanding of the genus "Ferrovum" and provide a comprehensive framework for future comparative genome and metagenome studies.
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    • "To build a metabolic network of the microbial community, the union of the five different metabolic networks was considered. Complementary, and for the sake of illustration, a list of 13 pathways considered as related to the copper bioleaching process was emphasize (Quatrini et al. 2009 "
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    ABSTRACT: Following the trend of studies that investigate microbial ecosystems using different metagenomic techniques, we propose a new integrative systems ecology approach that aims to decipher functional roles within a consortium through the integration of genomic and metabolic knowledge at genome scale. For the sake of application, using public genomes of five bacterial strains involved in copper bioleaching: Acidiphilium cryptum, Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans, Acidithiobacillus thiooxidans, Leptospirillum ferriphilum, and Sulfobacillus thermosulfidooxidans, we first reconstructed a global metabolic network. Next, using a parsimony assumption, we deciphered sets of genes, called Sets from Genome Segments (SGS), that (1) are close on their respective genomes, (2) take an active part in metabolic pathways and (3) whose associated metabolic reactions are also closely connected within metabolic networks. Overall, this SGS paradigm depicts genomic functional units that emphasize respective roles of bacterial strains to catalyze metabolic pathways and environmental processes. Our analysis suggested that only few functional metabolic genes are horizontally transferred within the consortium and that no single bacterial strain can accomplish by itself the whole copper bioleaching. The use of SGS pinpoints a functional compartmentalization among the investigated species and exhibits putative bacterial interactions necessary for promoting these pathways.
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    • "While for cells grown on FeS 2 , CuFeS 2 and Fe 2? , the iron contents varied from *0.771 to *1.120 (a.u.). The difference could be mainly because only little iron presented in the former one in form of Fe-S cluster, while large amount of bound irons existed in the latter ones (Quatrini et al. 2009). After treated by 6 M HCl, the iron contents of the cells grown on FeS 2 , CuFeS 2 and Fe 2? apparently decreased, indicating the iron was mostly located on the cell surface. "
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