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Free Content Electron transport to periplasmic nitrate reductase (NapA) of Wolinella succinogenes is independent of a NapC protein

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The rumen bacterium Wolinella succinogenes grows by respiratory nitrate ammonification with formate as electron donor. Whereas the enzymology and coupling mechanism of nitrite respiration is well known, nitrate reduction to nitrite has not yet been examined. We report here that intact cells and cell fractions catalyse nitrate and chlorate reduction by reduced viologen dyes with high specific activities. A gene cluster encoding components of a putative periplasmic nitrate reductase system (napA, G, H, B, F, L, D) was sequenced. The napA gene was inactivated by inserting a kanamycin resistance gene cassette. The resulting mutant did not grow by nitrate respiration and did not reduce nitrate during growth by fumarate respiration, in contrast to the wild type. An antigen was detected in wild-type cells using an antiserum raised against the periplasmic nitrate reductase (NapA) from Paracoccus pantotrophus. This antigen was absent in the W. succinogenes napA mutant. It is concluded that the periplasmic nitrate reductase NapA is the only respiratory nitrate reductase in W. succinogenes, although a second nitrate-reducing enzyme is apparently induced in the napA mutant. The nap cluster of W. succinogenes lacks a napC gene whose product is thought to function in quinol oxidation and electron transfer to NapA in other bacteria. The W. succinogenes genome encodes two members of the NapC/NirT family, NrfH and FccC. Characterization of corresponding deletion mutants indicates that neither of these two proteins is required for nitrate respiration. A mutant lacking the genes encoding respiratory nitrite reductase (nrfHA) had wild-type properties with respect to nitrate respiration. A model of the electron transport chain of nitrate respiration is proposed in which one or more of the napF, G, H and L gene products mediate electron transport from menaquinol to the periplasmic NapAB complex. Inspection of the W. succinogenes genome sequence suggests that ammonia formation from nitrate is catalysed exclusively by periplasmic respiratory enzymes.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Institut für Mikrobiologie, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität, Marie-Curie-Str. 9, D-60439 Frankfurt am Main, Germany. 2: Max-Planck-Institut für Entwicklungsbiologie, Spemannstr. 35, D-72076 Tübingen, Germany.

Publication date: July 1, 2003

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