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J Bacteriol. Mar 1986; 165(3): 864–870.
PMCID: PMC214508

Regulation of nitrogenase activity by ammonium chloride in Azospirillum spp.


Ammonium chloride (greater than or equal to 0.05 mM) effectively and reversibly inhibited the nitrogenase activity of Azospirillum brasilense, Azospirillum lipoferum and Azospirillum amazonense. The glutamine synthetase inhibitor L-methionine-DL- sulfoximine abolished this "switch-off" in A. lipoferum and A. brasilense, but not in A. amazonense. Azaserine, an inhibitor of glutamate synthase, inhibited nitrogenase activity itself. This provides further evidence for glutamine as a metabolite of regulatory importance in the NH4+ switch-off phenomenon. In A. brasilense and A. lipoferum, a transition period before the complete inhibition of nitrogenase activity after the addition of 1 mM ammonium chloride was observed. The in vitro nitrogenase activity also was decreased after treatment with ammonium. During sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, a second dinitrogenase reductase (Fe protein) subunit appeared, which migrated in coincidence with the modified subunit of the inactive Fe protein of the nitrogenase of Rhodospirillum rubrum. After the addition of ammonium 32P was incorporated into this subunit of the Fe protein of A. brasilense. In A. amazonense, the inhibition of nitrogenase activity by ammonium was only partial, and no transition period could be observed. The in vitro nitrogenase activity of ammonium-treated cells was not decreased, and no evidence for a modified Fe protein subunit was found. Nitrogenase extracts of A. amazonense were active and had an Fe protein that migrated as a close double band on sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis.

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Selected References

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