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J Bacteriol. May 1996; 178(9): 2668–2675.
PMCID: PMC177994

Molecular characterization and transcriptional analysis of the putative hydrogenase gene of Clostridium acetobutylicum ATCC 824.


A 2.8-kbp DNA region of Clostridium acetobutylicum ATCC 824 containing the putative hydrogenase gene (hydA) was cloned and sequenced. The 1,745-bp hydA encodes a 64,415-Da protein and presents strong identity with the [Fe] hydrogenase genes of Desulfovibrio and Clostridium species. The level of the putative hydA mRNA was high in cells from an acidogenic or an alcohologenic phosphate-limited continuous culture, while it was comparatively very low in cells from a solventogenic phosphate-limited continuous culture. These results were in agreement with the hydrogenase protein level, indicating that expression of hydA is regulated at the transcriptional level. Primer extension analysis identified a major transcriptional start site 90 bp upstream of the hydA start codon. The position of a putative rho-independent transcription terminator immediately downstream of the termination codon is in agreement with the size of the hydA transcript (1.9 kb) determined by Northern (RNA) blot experiments and confirms that the gene is transcribed as a monocistronic operon. Two truncated open reading frames (ORFs) were identified downstream and upstream of hydA and in opposite directions. The amino acid sequence deduced from ORF2 presents strong identity with ortho phosphoribosyl transferases involved in pyrimidine synthesis. The amino acid sequence deduced from ORF3 presents no significant similarity to any sequence in various available databases.

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Selected References

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