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J Bacteriol. 1995 May; 177(10): 2628–2636.
PMCID: PMC176931

Characterization of an operon encoding an NADP-reducing hydrogenase in Desulfovibrio fructosovorans.


A genomic DNA fragment from Desulfovibrio fructosovorans, which strongly hybridized with the hydAB genes from Desulfovibrio vulgaris Hildenborough, was cloned and sequenced. This fragment was found to contain four genes, named hndA, hndB, hndC, and hndD. Analysis of the sequence homologies indicated that HndA shows 29, 21, and 26% identity with the 24-kDa subunit from Bos taurus complex I, the 25-kDa subunit from Paracoccus denitrificans NADH dehydrogenase type I, and the N-terminal domain of HoxF subunit of the NAD-reducing hydrogenase from Alcaligenes eutrophus, respectively. HndB does not show any significant homology with any known protein. HndC shows 37 and 33% identity with the C-terminal domain of HoxF and the 51-kDa subunit from B. taurus complex I, respectively, and has the requisite structural features to be able to bind one flavin mononucleotide, one NAD, and three [4Fe-4S] clusters. HndD has 40, 42, and 48% identity with hydrogenase I from Clostridium pasteurianum and HydC and HydA from D. vulgaris Hildenborough, respectively. The 4.5-kb length of the transcripts expressed in D. fructosovorans and in Escherichia coli (pSS13) indicated that all four genes were present on the same transcription unit. The sizes of the four polypeptides were measured by performing heterologous expression of hndABCD in E. coli, using the T7 promoter/polymerase system. The products of hndA, hndB, hndC, and hndD were 18.8, 13.8, 52, and 63.4 kDa, respectively. One hndC deletion mutant, called SM3, was constructed by performing marker exchange mutagenesis. Immunoblotting studies carried out on cell extracts from D. fructosovorans wild-type and SM3 strains, using antibodies directed against HndC, indicated that the 52-kDa protein was recognized in extracts from the wild-type strain only. In soluble extracts from D. fructosovorans wild type, a 10-fold induction of NADP reduction was observed when H(2) was present, but no H(2)-dependent NAD reduction ever occurred. This H(2)-dependent NADP reductase activity disappeared completely in extracts from SM3. These results indicate that the hnd operon actually encodes an NAdP-reducing hydrogenase in D. fructosovorans.

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